Watford awarded Purple Flag status
Watford has been awarded Purple Flag status - a new accreditation scheme ‘that recognises excellence in the management of town and city centres at night’.
Watford is one of six new towns and cities across the UK to be awarded Purple Flag, and the first in Hertfordshire.
The independent Purple Flag assessors who came to Watford were particularly impressed with the police presence, taxi marshals, staggered closing times for pubs and clubs and the ‘God After Dark’ project that provides care for vulnerable drinkers.
Dorothy Thornhill, Elected Mayor of Watford, said, “We are thrilled that Watford has been awarded Purple Flag status. No place is perfect but it’s good to get independent assessors from outside telling us what they think. The award highlights the steps we are taking to improve our town centre for visitors and that we work well together to prevent problems occurring in the first place. Watford scored ‘above average’ for safety, as well as the arts and culture provision. The Purple Flag should encourage more people to sample Watford’s ‘complete offer’, for example, to come for a show at the Colosseum and Palace Theatre or have a meal out with the family, which is good for the town.”
Purple Flag is a town and city centre award - similar to the Blue Flag for beaches - backed by the Home Office, police and business, as well as sponsored by Diageo GB. To achieve Purple Flag status, towns and cities must be welcoming to everyone, offer safe ways for visitors to travel home, provide a good mix of venues and be appealing after dark. Purple Flag towns and cities benefit from more visitors, lower crime and anti-social behaviour and improved perceptions of centres.
The six towns and cities that have just received Purple Flag status – Lincoln, Ipswich, Sheffield, Aberystwyth, Watford and Southend - have been judged as providing a welcoming town or city centre for evening visitors that is appealing, diverse in its entertainment offering, and high scoring for the services they provide.
Chief Inspector for Watford, Nick Caveney said: “The Purple Flag assessors clearly recognised the hard work and dedication of all partner agencies, who work closely to ensure that those who visit the town enjoy a safe evening.
“I hope those who have recently visited the town centre for a night out have noticed an increased police presence and a different policing approach; one that will challenge unacceptable behaviour and deal more robustly with anyone found to be committing crime and anti-social behaviour.
“We recognise that there are still challenges ahead however, this award gives us a strong platform from which to move forward and continue to address these issues together.”
Philip Kolvin QC, Chairman of the Purple Flag Board said: “Creating a welcoming, inclusive and appealing night time economy is a major partnership endeavour, and the six new towns which have been awarded with the Purple Flag accreditation have worked tremendously hard to achieve theirs. The newly awarded towns and cities join twenty-five other Purple Flag holders across the UK, who’ve met and continue to maintain the high standards required. They all deliver a range of activities, initiatives and services in their centres as part of a committed partnership”.
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