Leisure measures

Woodford resident Andy Newman provides a consultancy service to the licensed leisure trade. Here, the former police inspector offers his advice to those going out and those operating venues this festive season

Whether you are going out to enjoy yourselves, organising an event or you’re an operator running your own hospitality venue, there are some dos and don’ts to make for a safe, social and superb night (or day) out. Woodford and Wanstead have some excellent venues. But do remember this: pretty poor planning prevents pretty poor performance.

Those going out
For those going out, do ensure you check out your intended venue beforehand. Don’t go by one thing alone. What are the reviews like? What is the hygiene rating? How does it feel inside and outside? Is it clean? Are the toilets kept clean? Are the staff smart and friendly? Do they appear to know what they are doing? Do you like the ambiance? Is there good signage?

Do book early. You won’t be happy if you can’t find anywhere to go! Do also be polite, respectful and patient with staff, as skills and people have been lost during the pandemic.

Do ensure you or someone you trust always has an eye on your drink. There are too many cases of drinks being spiked (drugged) – don’t let this happen to you. Do engage positively with staff, especially if you are on your own. Venues have a responsibility towards vulnerable people, which is why you want to choose your venue wisely.

Do let people know where you are going and plan your route home, avoiding alleyways, poorly lit areas and suspicious characters where possible. Do have your phone charged and do take positive action. Walk confidently. Be aware of your surroundings and cross the road to avoid unsavoury characters. Be alert to your nearest places of safety. This includes well-run venues that tend to have CCTV and door staff, especially at night. Don’t carelessly flash your phone, money or jewellery around, especially at stations and crowded venues.

Operators running a venue
For those who run their own venues, do submit your Temporary Event Notices (TENS) early. Do ensure all four licensing objectives are being promoted (the prevention of crime and disorder; public safety; the prevention of public nuisance; and the protection of children from harm). Check your staff know and comply with your conditions, especially around CCTV, dispersal and respecting neighbours.

Do the right thing and seek professional help (quickly) should you fall foul of the authorities. An expedited review of your licence could close your business. Do remember the authorities always implement joint Enforcement Operations for the winter festivities. Expect visits; don’t get caught out.

Andy is the founder and director of Andy Newman Consultancy Ltd. For more information, call 07717 834 798 or visit andynewman.co.uk