Metal detectors outside bars, high-visibility police patrols and a joined-up CCTV network that sees suspects arrested within minutes are just some of the reasons why Nottingham has been officially declared one of the UK’s safest places for a night out.

Purple Flag is an international award which recognises excellence in the management of a safe town or city centre – and Nottingham has been awarded the status for a twelfth successive year

Run by the Association of Town and City Management in partnership with industry, licensees, retailers, and consumers, Purple Flag status has been awarded to Nottingham in recognition of the fantastic partnership work that goes on in the background to keep people safe.

Multiple organisations including Nottingham Business Improvement District, Nottinghamshire Police and Nottingham City Council work all year round, developing and updating initiatives and schemes designed to ensure people enjoy a safe night out.

They include:

  • Using metal detectors to catch criminals trying to take knives into venues
  • Police dog patrols as part of Operation Guardian patrols to tackle drug crime
  • High-visibility patrols on transport network to ensure people get home safe
  • Launch of a ‘Safe Space’ operated by first aid charity St John Ambulance to support those who need help or medical assistance on a night out
  • Specific training for staff working in the night-time economy on how to help keep revellers safe
  • Widespread CCTV network with a joined-up approach that sees City Council operatives communicating with police to pinpoint suspects immediately
  • The use of both plain clothes and uniformed officers to tackle street offences such as retail crime, aggressive begging and anti-social behaviour.

Councillor Rebecca Langton, portfolio holder for skills, growth and economic development for Nottingham City Council, added: “Since first gaining Purple Flag status 12 years ago, partners in Nottingham have been really focused on maintaining or improving the attributes that are needed to create a city centre which is a safe, fun, and well looked after place to enjoy.

“The pandemic has inevitably meant fewer people visiting the city centre, so it’s great we can encourage people to return in increasing numbers to what continues to be one of the best city centres in the country for a great, safe night out.

“The wonderful pubs, restaurants, bars, music venues, theatres and other night-time destinations in our city deserve our support, and along with the efforts of Nottingham Business Improvement District, Nottinghamshire Police and the City Council, everyone can be sure of a warm and safe welcome.”

Chief Inspector Amy English, of Nottinghamshire Police, welcomed the news, adding that obtaining a Purple Flag demonstrated that Nottingham’s night-time economy offers clean and safe environments, great bars and clubs, a variety of arts and cultural attractions and excellent transport links.

She said: “Nottingham once again receiving this award reflects the continued efforts of local businesses, members of the community and everyone involved in making our evening and nightlife some of the most vibrant, diverse, and well-respected in the UK.

“We are fortunate to have strong partnerships with the Nottingham Business Improvement District and the city council and together we work all year round to make the city an even safer place to enjoy a night out.

“Since the night-time economy reopened, we ensured that there were plenty of officers patrolling the streets and high-visibility policing operations have been put in place on Nottingham’s tram network as part of a wider campaign to increase the safety of women and girls, in particular.

“We have also seen the return of our specialist operation tackling drug dealing and associated violence in the city centre, Op Guardian. Through Op Guardian, we see a number of highly-trained officers team up with a police dog to confront drug dealers head on.”

Alex Flint, chief executive officer of Nottingham Business Improvement District, said: “We are delighted that Nottingham has once again received Purple Flag status – this is an important accreditation for the city as it highlights Nottingham’s continual commitment to provide a safe night out and gives national recognition that Nottingham city centre is well managed in relation to cleanliness and safety as well as having a diverse range of venues for a great night out.”

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Nottinghamshire, Caroline Henry, said the accreditation was great news and that she will continue to work with partners and provide funding for initiatives and schemes that help keep people safe.

Commissioner Henry said: “I am delighted Nottingham has received this accreditation for the twelfth year in a row. Nottingham is a great night out, and we want people to enjoy our city in the knowledge that it is a safe place to be. I will continue to work with our force, Nottingham BID and Nottingham City Council to introduce and fund initiatives in our city centre to make our city even safer.”