Southend retains Purple Flag for safe night time
Southend-on-Sea has retained its Purple Flag status for night time safety following an inspection. Similar to the Blue Flag award given to clean beaches, the Purple Flag looks at five areas of a town’s evening and night time economy. This includes the mixture of types of venues available, partnership working, public transport, crowd control measures, location and capacity of venues, and plans for the future.
The inspection team met with the Purple Flag working group, made up of representatives from the public, private and voluntary sector, and then viewed the town independently. Their report praised the good range of venues Southend-on-Sea offers and described the town as ‘calm, safe and orderly’, following their inspection which took place between 6pm on Friday 7 December and 2am on Saturday 8 December.
Cllr Mark Flewitt, cabinet member for public protection, said: “We are really pleased to be retaining the Purple Flag for the sixth year running, not least because a small number of high profile crimes that have taken place in the town centre has, quite rightly raised some safety questions from the public. But Purple Flag is about what we, the council and stakeholders have done to make the night time economy safer. I was pleased that the political agreement across council was noted by the assessors.
“As a council we sought to address some of these concerns with the introduction of the community safety team in October 2018, a measure which the assessors recognised has made an important impact of the safety and perception levels of members of the community.
“We live in a bustling vibrant town and I think it is important to celebrate retaining the purple flag in acknowledgement of the hard work going on between all relevant agencies to make Southend-on-Sea a welcoming place to visit.”
Simon Ford, group manager for community safety at Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, said: “This award is credit to the work going on behind the scenes between the police, venue owners, charities, the council and others, to make sure people feel safe and want to visit the town at any time, day or night.”
Alison Dewey, manager of BID, said: “It’s a fantastic achievement for the town to be awarded the Purple Flag for the sixth consecutive year. It’s a real credit to our vibrant and diverse evening economy who continue to work together with partner agencies on a range of safety initiatives.”
Inspector Ian Hughes, Southend community policing team, said: “Whilst Southend town centre has seen its challenges in recent times, the improvements that have been made since early October are clear to see. This has been achieved with agencies working together in partnership and also further developing relations with those premises involved in delivering our night time economy. The Purple Flag status is one which we should all be proud of and demonstrates our ‘one team’ mentality to ensure Southend is a safe, prosperous place to visit and enjoy what is on offer. There is still work to be done, and we will continue to identify challenges and put in place plans to address them.”
Southend-on-Sea achieved ‘above standard’ for movement and policy, and ‘standard met’ for wellbeing, appeal and place.