Liverpool is celebrating securing prestigious Purple Flag status again – taking its reign into a twelfth successive year.
Purple Flag is a town and city centre award – similar to the Blue Flag for beaches or Green Flag for parks – which aims to raise the standard and broaden the appeal of town and city centres in the evening and night time.
Places awarded the status are recognised for providing a vibrant mix of entertainment while promoting the safety and wellbeing of visitors and local residents.
The Purple Flag programme is managed by the Association of Town and City Management (ATCM) which works alongside a partnership of key stakeholder groups backed by Government, police and businesses.
Liverpool, which first gained the Purple Flag in 2010, demonstrated again that it has a safe and well-managed night-time economy.
A team of independent assessors reviewed a number of aspects of the city’s night time offer including the policing, stewarding and messaging within bars, restaurants, shops, car parks, theatres, signage and public transport – and how they were responding and adapting to Covid-19 guidelines.
In conclusion, they praised Liverpool for:
- Its impressive use of outdoor space
- Partnership working during the pandemic
- The provision of safe spaces and crime initiatives
- The engagement and partnership with residents
They also gave special praise to the council’s innovative ‘Without Walls’ programme – which allowed hospitality venues to bring ‘the inside out’, and to keep visitors safe without compromising on their experience.
As well as Without Walls, the city has also introduced a LGBTQ+ ‘You’re Safe Here’ accreditation scheme to reassure the public that they are safe in venues, and staff in the hospitality sector are trained and know what to do in the event of a transphobic or homophobic incident.
The council has also secured funding to tackle violence against women and girls, which will pay for extra CCTV monitoring on the streets and ‘by-stander training’ for transport and bar staff.
And in light of the recent fatal stabbing of Ava White, work is ongoing with ‘KnifeSavers’, a not-for-profit programme that empowers people to deal with bleeding caused by knife injuries through Bleed Control Kits. The hope is to have these kits mounted in cabinets in key locations in the city centre, much like defibrillators are.
Councillor Abdul Qadir, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Community Safety, said:
“To retain Purple Flag status is great news for Liverpool and sends out a strong message that we have a safe and vibrant city centre.
“It’s a great recognition of all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes to ensure visitors of all ages can enjoy our amazing cultural offer – but we never rest on our laurels – standards have to be maintained at all times.
“We saw that during the pandemic and how we responded with the ‘Without Walls’ programme to support businesses who couldn’t provide indoor custom – and to protect the customer.
“Of course there has been some traumatic experiences in the past year and we all hope they are never repeated. All our partners, be it our Streetscene team, Merseyside police and the businesses community are working tirelessly with that in mind.”
Ojay McDonald, Chief Executive of the ATCM, said:
“We have been extremely pleased with the way the Purple Flag assessment criteria was used throughout the pandemic to influence positive outcomes for users of Liverpool City Centre.
“The development of a multi-agency task force within the first week of the pandemic to deliver schemes like ‘Liverpool Without Walls’ is fantastic and has the potential to reframe how cities across the UK use outdoor space. Additional work from training to reduce vulnerability to engagement with residents on the night time economy are the cherry on top of the cake.”
Superintendent of Liverpool Community Policing Diane Pownall said Merseyside Police was proud of the Purple Flag accreditation and that officers will continue to improve and ensure the safety and wellbeing of visitors and local residents in the city in light of recent tragedies and Covid restrictions.
Superintendent Pownall added:
“This is absolutely fantastic news and would not have happened without the endeavours and commitment of officers and staff across Merseyside Police and Liverpool City Council. Such support and recognition drives everyone involved in keeping people in Merseyside safe on to maintain the creative use of outdoor space created during the pandemic, and the partnerships that were fostered during that time.
“The murders of Ava White and Duncan Browne in the city centre last year left everyone at Merseyside Police shocked and saddened, and our thoughts remain with their families and friends at this incredibly difficult time.
“With increased patrols at key times and in key areas of Liverpool city centre as part of our Nightsafe operation, we are working to ensure everyone can enjoy a safe and enjoyable night out in this great city. We hope this accreditation shows how seriously we take the protection of anyone that visits Liverpool and that we will continue to engage with residents to improve our city, and to prevent further incidents.
“As chair of the City centre Joint Agency Group, a committed multi‐agency group that works collaboratively to tackle issues around licensing, public health and safer communities in the City Centre, we are proud to announce that Liverpool has been awarded the prestigious Purple Flag accreditation.
“The group works with partners to regenerate the city of Liverpool, to ensure prevention and education when providing training for staff in the area on violence against women for example, hate crimes and intervention programmes. This delivers different approaches and better outcomes for the future of our city.”