Safe Nightlife in Holstebro
As with most towns, Holstebro has a thriving nightlife with a wide variety of bars, restaurants and nightclubs. Safe Nightlife worked and still works to improve the inclusion of employees working in nightlife related businesses in the prevention of violence, drug sale and abuse, vandalism and sexual assaults among young people.
The aim of the Safe Nightlife is to create a safe environment for youngsters who participate in nightlife by having competent and responsible adults ready to help them.
This was achieved by making the youngsters aware of their participation in nightlife by addressing them at educational institutions, high school and army barracks. This included information on the effects of alcohol consumption, drugs abuse and risk behaviours, and the risk of becoming a victim of violence or sexual assault.
Quantitative and qualitative feedback from participants was obtained and the pilot project succeeded in getting 11 of 15 licensed restaurants, bars and nightclubs to join up. The participants attending the two-day courses reported that training on spotting drug abuse and conflict management were of importance. The view held was that less underage, as well as people seeking conflict, would take part in nightlife. The Police reported a greater number of violence incidents but generally a feeling of a safer nightlife. Less underage youths were present in restaurants, bars and nightclubs and there were more reports regarding drug abuse from the owners. The youngsters of Holstebro reported a safer nightlife, with fewer minors, less violence, less risk behaviour and a firm policy countering drug abuse.
The outcome of the pilot project was very promising and it is now implemented as part of the SSP (School, Social services and Police) preventive work in the municipality of Holstebro.
Based on the community approach (Holder).
The steering committee identified a range of parameters to be monitored in order to measure the performance of the project.
Firstly, an evaluation was carried out at a two day training course in order to secure that topics addressed and training provided to participants were useful and met the needs of staff members. The quick and immediate feed back from participants and inputs from the steering committees evaluation meetings allowed for organisers to make constructive and swift amendments to the different elements of the training programme.
The Police department of Holstebro keeps detailed statistics of incidents. So by monitoring the reported nightlife related crimes the steering committee was able to provide updated information on recent developments in nightlife and on information gathered by social workers. A clear area of impact was the immediate increased control with minors access to the nightclubs and alcohol. Feedback from nightclub staff, police, and outreach workers all indicated that fewer minors were out late at night on weekends.
Furthermore, the number of incidents of violence reported by nightclub owners to the police dropped. At the same time the police saw an increase in the area of combating drugs in nightclubs. Apparently the training helped the staff to improve their abilities with new methods to spot drugs and drug sales in nightclubs. So there was a rise in self-reported incidents of drug abuse. These are incidents where security staff will search nightclub customers for drugs, or where service staff find drugs dropped on the dance floor in the restaurants. Long-term results on a 3 to 5 year basis were identified as an overall drop in nightlife related crime and especially violent offences and drug offences in relation to the bars and nightclubs.
The Holstebro project has uncovered a range of elements which can further support the efforts:
- Reporting of illegal incidents at the restaurants.
- Formulating an inebriants policy for restaurants and other places which organise parties for young people (youth education, sports societies, hall balls, etc.).
- Formulating a clear staff policy at the restaurants.
- The restaurant keepers can work together on keeping troublemakers out
- The restaurant keepers can enter into agreements in order to avoid ggressive serving.
- Combating drugs.
- Considering gender-specific initiatives, as girls and boys react differently to nightlife experiences.
- Not letting minors into the public houses.
- Training of restaurant staff should take place with local resources, as they are familiar with the local community and conflicts.
- The possibilities of intervention are many and varied, and therefore it is good to set up a framework for the intervention in advance.
Safe Nightlife has had a positive effect on the nightlife culture in Holstebro. The restaurant keepers have experienced a sharp fall in incidents of violence and aggressive behaviour during the period after the intervention programme. The number of minors in the nightlife has reduced.
According to Holstebro Police, the restaurant keepers are keeping stricter control in respect of letting minors into the public houses, zero tolerance of illegal inebriants and an increasing number of reports if the restaurant keepers experience sale of drugs. Policing the nightlife and interest in the course of the project have been important factors. Both the restaurant keepers and the Police report that their mutual co-operation has grown closer, which has had a positive impact on nightlife.
Last updated: April 2016