Northampton night time economy recognised globally with prestigious Purple Flag accreditation
01 February 2024
Northampton is celebrating as it proudly receives the globally acclaimed Purple Flag accreditation, recognising its commitment to creating a dynamic, secure, and vibrant evening and night time economy.
This prestigious award highlights Northampton's blend of night time entertainment, dining, and culture, all while ensuring the safety and well-being of residents and visitors in the evening and night time economy.
Purple Flag, similar to the Blue Flag for beaches, aims to raise the standard and broaden the appeal of town and city centres between the hours of 5pm to 5am. There are 100 Purple Flag destinations around the world including world renowned tourist destinations to small market towns.
Receiving the Purple Flag accreditation can boost the local economy, increase tourism, and improve the overall quality of life for residents by providing more night time entertainment and social opportunities. It’s a way for cities and towns to demonstrate their commitment to creating vibrant and safe evening and night time environments.
West Northamptonshire Council, the Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner and Northampton BID, working with partners, have successfully retained the Purple Flag status for five years. Northampton is one of 10 areas in the UK to have received a Full Renewal accreditation with 13 others receiving an Interim Renewal accreditation.
Key successes in Northampton's submission include the impressive dedication of the Purple Flag partners, the licensed driver training scheme and the new night time economy strategy.
In the past 3 years, a wide range of safety and security interventions have been delivered to enhance the visitor experience in Northampton town centre, delivered by individual agencies with support from partners.
The OPFCC has developed and led on the implementation of a range of interventions, including the introduction of ID scan technology in pubs, clubs and bars to allow those locations to offer a safer environment to their customers; the rollout of Home Office accreditation to public houses which demonstrate a security conscious approach to operating their business; training to staff in licensed premises on how to recognise and respond to sexual harassment in the workplace and how to support victims; the launch of the Flare app which is an anonymous reporting tool where members of the public can report inappropriate behaviours and harassment which can then be used by police where required to target patrols and other activity; increased CCTV provision in the town centre; and funding a pilot policing operation aimed at increasing presence in the night time economy with officers that are focused on positive interventions relating to predatory behaviour.
The OPFCC has also rolled out the successful Safer Nights Out Van concept, where the Northampton Guardian volunteers are available every Friday and Saturday night to support vulnerable people. In addition, the Commissioner’s office led a partner supported campaign “It only takes one” raising awareness of the impact of inappropriate behaviour and harassment and educating bystanders about actions and changes in behaviour that can be made. The ‘Stand by Her’ training programme was also rolled out to young men in education to help them understand the impact of harassing behaviour on women.
WNC have led on a number of other partnership-based activities, including increased CCTV, lighting and help points in the town centre, Beckets Park and the Racecourse, safer walking routes in conjunction with the University of Northampton, the closure of dark and uninviting alleyways and the introduction of a taxi marshal scheme at weekends.
With the help of partners we have delivered an incredible amount of work over the past 3 years to improve the night time economy in Northampton and ensure that residents and visitors feel safe at all times.Cllr David Smith, Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Engagement, and Regulatory Services at West Northamptonshire Council
The impact of this work is evident in the reduced crime rates and feedback from local businesses and I am delighted that this was recognised by the Purple Flag auditors on their visit to Northampton town centre during one of our peak night time economy weekends.
The council is committed to working with businesses to ensure we remain a safe and vibrant evening destination and we look forward to continuing this vital ongoing work to make West Northamptonshire a safe, enjoyable and welcoming place for all.
We all want to make Northampton a place where people feel safe, and there has been a lot of work undertaken by a number of different organisations to contribute towards that.Stephen Mold, the Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner
The OPFCC has worked with West Northamptonshire Council to invest in a number of safety measures in the town centre, including new CCTV help points and well-lit safe walking routes.
It’s a fantastic endorsement for Northampton to be awarded Purple Flag accreditation and demonstrates that the many efforts to improve safety in the town centre are having a very positive effect.
Creating a safe and welcoming environment for our visitors is key to a successful night time economy and I’m delighted the efforts of multiple partners to do just this has been recognised.Mark Mullen, Operations Manager at Northampton Town Centre Business Improvement District (BID)
We enjoy a close working relationship with local authorities, emergency services and the volunteer groups who all play an integral role in ensuring visitors can enjoy a night out in Northampton.
We look forward to developing that further as we prepare for the exciting plans afoot for our town centre with the reimagined Market Square, the opening of STACK and a refreshed Fish Street and Abington Street.