Luton pubs are promoting a joint safety campaign to reassure customers they are doing everything they can to ensure a safe night out in the town.
Publicans in the Luton BID area are aware of the recent national spotlight on drink spiking concerns and have come together to support a “Safe night for everyone” drive.
All pub staff are being vigilant and alert to any risks to customers, and landlords are ensuring all possible safety methods are in place, despite there being no reported issues in Luton.
This includes all venues providing free water for customers and qualified first aiders, the provision of a quiet space for customers when needed and helping to call a taxi or a family member when a phone has been lost or ran out of battery.
A spokesperson for Luton SAFE said: “As the hospitality industry continues to recover from the pandemic, it’s vital that pubs in the town continue to make customers feel as safe as possible when on a night out so we welcome this campaign.
“It’s a town-wide partnership approach, and we are working with Luton BID, Luton Council, Bedfordshire Police and Festus Akinbusoye, our PCC, to ensure we are doing everything we can to make the town a safe place for everybody.”
Festus Akinbusoye, Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), said: “A safe environment encourages public confidence, which in turn benefits our local economy to create jobs.
“I support this partnership approach to preventing crime and also reassuring people who want to enjoy a vibrant night-time economy in Luton.”
Chief Inspector Jamie Langwith from the Luton Community Policing team said: “This weekend is usually one of our busiest times of year for people going out and we will have officers out and about in town centres across the county to provide that very visible presence and reassurance.
“In order to keep our residents safe, we will be working closely with partners who have been working on their safety measures and it is great to see this support from businesses in Luton.
“We would encourage everyone to act responsibly, respect others and if you do feel unsafe to please speak to someone immediately and report it to us.”
Julia Horsman, Luton BID Manager, said: “It is fantastic to see our businesses owners so passionate about their customers’ safety and leading from the front of a positive and proactive approach.
“We have some fantastic venues in the town centre, and I hope that locals, students and visitors will feel safe coming into the town at night to have fun and enjoy what we have to offer.”
Luton Town also has the Community SOS Community First Response Service, which has been in place for over 10 years and is an initiative from the Luton Safer Partnership, lovingly known by locals as the ‘SOS Bus’.
The SOS is staffed by a trained team of dedicated volunteers supporting those in need during the night-time and are based in the town centre every Friday and Saturday night.
The team provide a listening ear and emotional support to those experiencing bereavement, mental health difficulties, substance misuse and domestic violence victims, and through the SOS vehicles they have been able to transport many individuals to hospital admissions when further treatment has been required.