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Cambridge’s Purple Flag status: Enjoy a safe night out



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Cambridge is one of only 70 towns and cities across the UK and Ireland which have achieved the Purple Flag national performance standard.

Hidden Rooms, Jesus Lane, Cambridge. Picture: Keith Heppell
Hidden Rooms, Jesus Lane, Cambridge. Picture: Keith Heppell

One of the key elements underpinning Purple Flag is promoting a safe evening and night-time economy. In the last six months being ‘Covid safe’ has been added to this as businesses reopened after the national lockdown.

Since reopening in July, the Cambridge licensing and police authorities, along with Cambridge Business Against Crime (CAMBAC) and Pubwatch, have been working closely with all venues to help ensure they are safe and compliant.

Here are some of the safety initiatives highlighted in Cambridge through the Purple Flag process...

Taxi marshals

Providing professionally-trained licensed taxi marshals on key dates throughout the year helps to ensure people get home swiftly and safely after enjoying a night out in Cambridge.

Operating from the central St Andrew’s Street taxi rank, the marshals manage the busy night-time queues, providing priority to anyone in distress or vulnerable whilst assisting the wider city requirements of dispersal.

This month, taxi marshals will be operating on Friday, October 9, Saturday, October 10, and Saturday, October 31.

La Raza's atmospheric bar
La Raza's atmospheric bar

Street pastors

Working primarily on Friday and Saturday nights, the street pastors are trained volunteers from local churches. Their aim is to care for, listen to, and help people who are out on the streets after a night out in the city.

They work with the NightLite refuge which provides a safe space for people to rest, recover or wait for friends or a taxi.

Operating hours have been adjusted to bring them in line with the current 10pm curfew.

Ask for Angela

A nationally recognised scheme that has been adopted in Cambridge, facilitated by CAMBAC.

The scheme arose in response to an increase in online dating with people meeting strangers in venues and supporting people who may feel uneasy when meeting someone for the first time. Individuals can approach bar staff, ‘ask for Angela’ and, in doing so, discreetly alert them to the fact that they feel vulnerable so staff can take appropriate action.

Sticks‘n’Sushi Cambridge. Picture: Keith Heppell
Sticks‘n’Sushi Cambridge. Picture: Keith Heppell

Some specific Covid initiatives you will see around the city when you visit include:

Test & Trace

With the launch of the government Test & Trace app on September 24, hospitality venues are now required to display a QR code so customers can scan this upon arrival as an alternative to providing their contact details.

If customers don’t scan the QR code then all venues in hospitality, tourism or the leisure industry must ask at least one member of every party of customers or visitors to provide their name and contact details.

Know Before you Go and The ‘We’re Good to Go’ Mark

Know Before you Go is the key message. Research where you are visiting, opening hours, ticket systems and what to expect.

The ‘We’re Good to Go’ mark was launched by Visit Britain and Visit England. Businesses complete a self-assessment including a checklist confirming they have put the necessary processes in place, before receiving certification and the ‘We’re Good to Go’ mark for display in their premises and online.

For added reassurance, an ‘alert’ system is in place to notify any business signed up to the standard of any changes to official guidance so you can visit with confidence.

What does Purple Flag status mean?

To understand what Purple Flag is and what it means for Cambridge, we caught up with Adam Ratcliffe, Cambridge Business Against Crime (CAMBAC) manager, to find

out more.

Q: When was Cambridge awarded Purple Flag status?

A: In September 2019 Cambridge was awarded the prestigious Purple Flag accreditation for its evening and night-time economy.

Q: Why do you think Cambridge was successful in its application?

A: The night-time economy within Cambridge is hugely diverse, thanks in part to a huge student population that comes from all over the world. A wide variety of leisure and hospitality businesses means that everyone is catered for, not just the younger demographic. A food-loving city, Cambridge celebrates a mix of independent businesses and larger chains to maintain the breadth of appeal.

The same can be said for licensed premises, with everything from underground cocktail bars to high-capacity venues, places for the discerning drinker to light up dancefloors, there is something for everyone.

Q: What does Purple Flag status mean for Cambridge?

A: It means as a city, partnership agencies across all sectors work closely together, with safety and cleanliness a priority, to ensure that Cambridge maintains its excellent reputation. It should give customers coming into Cambridge confidence that the evening and night-time economy is well managed, connected and striving to deliver a vibrant and safe experience.

Q: Can you name a few of your favourite venues for an evening out?

A: Well as a former cocktail bartender myself, I will always favour venues like La Raza, Novi and Hidden Rooms to get my cocktail fix. First however, I can usually be found eating on Wheeler Street before a night out, either enjoying some delicious sushi in Sticks’n’Sushi or stuffing my face with a Steak & Honour burger!

Purple Flag logo (19097625)
Purple Flag logo (19097625)

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