Alcohol education charity Drinkaware starts 2020 with a third partner committing to its recently-launched Nightlife Crew training, as Essex joins Hackney and Cardiff in adopting the night-time safety scheme.
Trained Nightlife Crew teams will be active in a number of the county's biggest bars and clubs, identifying and supporting people who become vulnerable after excessive drinking.
Nightlife Crew teams circulate in the venues, reuniting customers with their friends or possessions, or helping them to get home safely. They also proactively promote a positive atmosphere, by talking to customers queuing to enter the venue, and engaging with them during the evening.
The Nightlife Crew scheme will run for an initial 12-month trial in Essex, focusing on Colchester, Chelmsford, Basildon and Southend.
The scheme is being funded by the Essex Police, Fire, Crime Commissioner, NHS, and Chelmsford Business Improvement District (BID). Nightlife Crew teams will be managed by Essex & Medway Drug and Alcohol Recovery charity Open Road in Chelmsford and Colchester, the YMCA SOS Bus in Basildon, and Triple L Training and Medical Ltd in Southend.
Brett Crabtree, Head of Business Development at Drinkaware, said: "We're delighted that Essex is rolling out our Nightlife Crew training, with venues across the county showing tremendous commitment to the scheme.
"We would urge any local authority, BID and organisation with a night-time safety remit to look at how Nightlife Crew can help to promote their local area as one that people can visit for an enjoyable evening - without the risk of alcohol harms."
Detective Chief Inspector Mark Barber of Essex Police said: "The Nightlife Crew teams can help to prevent anti-social behaviour and possible sexual offences. They give an extra level of reassurance to customers in bars and clubs, as well as freeing up bar managers and security staff to manage their venue, which results in less disruption and fewer calls to emergency services.
"The project highlights the great partnership work between the police, bars and clubs, and other stakeholders to keep people safe on a night out in Essex."
Colin Goodwin, manager of club, Moo Moo, in Southend, said: "This is about taking our responsibility to another level. While we want people to enjoy themselves, we know sometimes they can get in trouble after drinking too much, without realising it. Nightlife Crew teams on site is another level of care we can provide."
Steve Wood from Open Road said: "Nightlife Crew teams complement our SOS buses in Chelmsford and Colchester, which offer a safe place and support for people in need of help on a night out. The Nightlife Crews will be active inside the venues, being an extra set of eyes and ears, looking for any unwanted characters, speaking to management and generally making people feel safer."