Safe Nightlife in Holstebro

Contact name: 
Jon A. Jorgensen
Position: 
coordinator
Organization: 
The Danish Crime Prevention Councils SSP Committee
Telephone: 
+445 9611 6939 or +45 2466 2339
Address: 
www.trygt-natteliv.dk Denmark
Summary

Safe Nightlife in Holstebro started as a project in 1999 and is now integrated in nightlife policy in Holstebro. It works to improve the inclusion of employees working in the nightlife related businesses in the prevention of violence, drug sale and abuse, vandalism and sexual assaults among young people. The aim of the Safer Nighlife policy is to create a safe environment for youngsters who participate in nightlife by having competent and responsible adults ready to help them. This is 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, drug abuse and risk behaviour, and risks of becoming a victim of violence or sexual assault.
Evaluation: Quantitative and qualitative feedback from participants was obtained.
Conclusion: 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.

Abstract

Background

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.

Objectives

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.

Characteristics

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.

Evaluation

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.

Conclusion

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.

Intervention details

Type of intervention
Primary and secondary prevention
Target population

Young people

Substances adressed
All substances
Actions
In Holstebro, the core of Safer Nightlife has been training all the restaurant keepers employees. The participants have received an introduction to cooperation with the Police, handling conflicts, meeting with multicultural groups, drugs counselling and first aid for injuries that typically occur in nightlife. In addition, a Restaurant Keepers Association has been formed which has helped create a better dialogue and a co-ordinated effort between the Police and restaurant keepers. The formation of the Restaurant Keepers Association has been essential to the success of the project. In order to get the young people themselves and the local community involved, a number of talks and debates have been organised on the youth education courses in Holstebro as well as the barracks. The purpose was to make the effort visible and start a debate with young people about behaviour and experiences from nightlife. Parents and other adults have received an insert in the local newspaper, distributed door-to-door, with a description of the intervention programme. In addition, a number of campaign materials have been produced (posters, help cards, jackets and T-shirts with the Safe Nightlife logo, etc.) and a homepage with information www.trygt-natteliv.dk.
Theory/evidence behind the intervention

Based on the community approach (Holder).

Evaluation details

Evaluation type (e.g. process, outcome, cost-effectiveness)
Process and outcome evaluation
Activities evaluated

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.

Type of evaluator (e.g. external consultant, internal evaluator)
External
Evaluation results (Process evaluation)

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.
Evaluation results (Outcome evaluation)

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

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