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Club hosts initiative keeps young people safe at night

Devon and Cornwall Police have joined up with the alcohol charity Drinkaware to launch a pilot initiative in the region which aims to keep vulnerable people safe at night.

Drinkaware, in partnership with the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Tony Hogg, and the Safer partnerships, has launched a six month pilot of club hosts at nightclubs across the peninsula.

The Club Hosts scheme started last week in Exeter, Plymouth, Torbay and Truro nightclubs and will work towards keeping young people safe and free from harassment on their nights out.

Drinkaware club hosts are specially trained staff who work in bars and clubs to reduce drunken anti-social behaviour and help look after people who may be at risk.

Working in pairs, the club hosts will have a presence in the venues, talking to customers at the start of the evening when a queue is forming, supporting customers who are vulnerable due to alcohol and ensuring guests leave safely once the nightclubs close.

Drinkaware is working with other partners across Devon, Cornwall and Gloucestershire to test and evaluate the intervention in venues in Exeter, Plymouth, Truro and Cheltenham. Findings will be used to inform an on-going roll-out of the Drinkaware Club Host programme in other parts of the country.

This follows a pilot carried out in Nottingham in 2014 as part of Drinkaware’s Drunken Nights Out* campaign, developed to reduce alcohol related harm in the night time economy.

Inspector Tanya Youngs, Devon and Cornwall police said: “The club host scheme is another example of the excellent partnership work involved in and around the evening and night time economy. There are behaviours and cultures which need challenging. People should be able to enjoy themselves without fear of being sexually harassed. Being drunk is no excuse for such behaviour and the police will deal robustly with such reports.”

Elaine Hindal, Chief Executive of Drinkaware, says: “Following a successful pilot in Nottinghamshire last year we are delighted to be launching Drinkaware Club Hosts in the South West of England in collaboration with police and community partnerships across the region.

“We are encouraged by the findings from our initial pilot, that indicated that this initiative can help to reduce the number of young adults experiencing drunken sexual harassment and other negative experiences on a night out. If behaviour isn’t acceptable sober, it isn’t acceptable drunk.”

Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Devon and Cornwall, Tony Hogg says: “Tackling alcohol related harm and crime is one of my top priorities in my police and crime plan. This is an important new pilot to help people made vulnerable through alcohol and safeguard them within venues. It will complement and work alongside existing support structures in the night time economy and help keep people safe on their night out.

“I am delighted at the level of engagement and support we have had from local partners. We have been working closely with local authorities, street pastors and the venues to put this pilot together.”

@Drinkaware #ClubHosts