Islington Labour councillors have pledged to make Islington a safer place for women and young adults, by voting for the Council’s new Licensing Policy at Full Council (7th December).
Earlier this year, Islington Council consulted on a new Licensing Policy for the next five years, which sets out how the Council intends to make decisions about licensed premises and licensing applications. A licensed premise serves alcohol and tobacco, such as bars, restaurants, clubs and off-licenses.
One of the main changes in the new Licensing Policy is a pledge to improve safeguarding measures for women and children at licensed premises. It also takes further steps to reduce late night crime and anti-social behaviour as a result of late night alcohol sales and poorly managed premises, which can negatively impact on local residents, as well as people visiting the premises.
Cllr Kaya Comer-Schwartz, Executive Member for Community Development, says: “Islington Labour is committed to making the borough a fairer place for all. That means ensuring everyone can enjoy a night out in Islington without feeling vulnerable or in danger, which cannot be achieved without taking specific steps to protect women and young people.
“Licensed premises make a significant contribution to our local economy and our wellbeing, but uncontrolled expansion and irresponsible management can negatively impact on people visiting them, as well as nearby residents who may be disturbed by anti-social behaviour. It is important we strike the balance between responsible growth of licensed premises and protecting local people, which is exactly what this new Licensing Policy aims to do.”
The new measures to help protect women include promoting the Met Police’s ‘Ask for Angela’ initiative, which encourages people who feel unsafe to say the phrase to venue staff who will ensure they are safe; displaying posters discouraging harassment and encouraging reporting; supporting anyone reporting sexual harassment; training staff and ensuring women can leave the venue safely.
To protect young people, the Council will require licensed premises to put in place appropriate management arrangements, such as; limiting the hours when young people may be present, restricting access to specific areas, requiring proof of age on admission and using Challenge 25 to prevent the sale of alcohol to children.
The new Licensing Policy will also impose new controls on off-licenses in order to reduce the negative impact of these premises on their local areas.
Islington’s rapid growth and housing demand means that there are many parts of the borough where local people live close to licensed premises. The Council will therefore take into account the local area when considering applications; including the location of the premises, cumulative impact of the premises on the area, and proximity of homes in order to minimise negative effects on local residents.
Pictured – Cllr Kaya Comer-Schwartz, Executive Member for Community Development