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WAVE for the vulnerable in pubs and clubs

In our July issue we featured the two Metropolitan Police-commissioned video to raise awareness of vulnerable people in pubs and clubs, and what door staff and other bar workers can and should do. At a WAVE (Welfare and Vulnerability Engagement) event in London yesterday we saw those videos.

The man in shirt sleeves walks with a woman past a pair of patrolling police officers. It couldn’t be more normal at night; the woman looks as if she’s the worse for wear, but you could assume that the man’s her boyfriend and helping her home. Except that as the video has already shown – played by actors – the man is not anyone known to her but a sexual predator, and moments later takes the woman into an alley and forces himself on her. It’s not the only upsetting thing to happen. A man who’s had too much to drink gets a random glass smashed on his head. Another man in jest gets pushed by a mate – they’ve all had a night’s worth of drink – and drops off the pavement, only to be smashed by a passing car.

The following video neatly showed how none of that need have happened; if only the door and other bar staff had done their jobs differently; if they had intervened, or merely asked a few questions. Take the door staff. Their SIA badges strapped to the arms of their jackets, we see the queue of young men and women outside the night-club from the doorman’s point of view, as he walks the line quietly; moving his eyes up and down, checking the women chatting, the lads bantering and giggling. To single out that most distressing incident, the woman sexually assaulted; she queued and entered the club with a female friend. Inside, we see they have a shot of alcohol, as do (separately) the lads, at the bar. The woman who’s later assaulted gets separated from her friend, and the man coaxes her into drinking another shot (is it spiked?), at a table. After drinking it, she certainly appears incoherent and unable to help herself. One of the many tricky questions about this whole issue of vulnerability is that someone who’s suffering from a spiked drink – which implies someone has malicious intent towards them – may appear like someone who’s simply had too much to drink.

While organisers of the event appreciated, and said so, that it can be difficult for staff to keep track of everyone at a busy venue – has someone got lost from the party they came in with, have they lost their belongings, are they under-age, or vulnerable because of their state of mind, or under the influence of drink or drugs – the principles of WAVE are the same as those of licensing law; to reduce violent crime, and sexual offences, and the opportunities for crime and anti-social behaviour; besides promoting partnerships.

More in the September 2018 print issue of Professional Security magazine.

The session hosted by the N1 bar by London Bridge for pub and club licensees and door security people heard from the Met Police and Anas Wihaib, Southwark and Lewisham BCRP (business crime reduction partnership) Manager, part of the Safer Business Network (SBN); a not for profit body which runs several BCRPs across London. Visit https://www.saferbusiness.org.uk/. For the SouthwarkSafe BCRP, visit https://twitter.com/SouthwarkSafe. As with BCRPs around the country, Southwark’s runs a radio scheme for day and night-time businesses; and the Littoralis DISC software for members to report incidents and be better informed about crime in their area and any patterns.

Anas told Professional Security afterwards: “We are very proud to have hosted our first WAVE event in Southwark; it was a unique chance to discuss the meanings of vulnerability and its signs. The event allowed candid conversations, amongst those in the licensing industry as well as universities and those working in law enforcement. We hope the sessions allowed those in the room to understand how their ‘day to day’ role and perhaps the types of questions to ask, ensures the safety of those most vulnerable. We look forward to arranging future sessions across Southwark.”

The WAVE videos were launched by the SBN at the Hippodrome Casino in Leicester Square in June.


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