DOOR staff in South Tyneside are being encouraged to show their caring side after receiving new training in how to help vulnerable drunken people.
Revellers in South Shields town centre will now be assessed by bouncers, to see if they are able to carry on – or should be sent home.
About 30 door staff in the town have received the ‘Safe Haven’ training – which encourages them to assess “triggers” of vulnerability, including the amount of alcohol someone has consumed, their age and whether they are on their own or have lost their friends.
The sessions were delivered by South Tyneside police officers and say that when people are classed as vulnerable, door staff should take steps to make sure they get home safely.
The training was developed earlier this year, as a result of a partnership set up by Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird with the police, Safe Newcastle and Phoenix Security.
It was trialled elsewhere in the country before being rolled out in the Northumbria force area.
Those who have completed the training wear a badge to show they’ve taken part.
Neighbourhood Inspector Peter Sutton thinks the training is invaluable for all involved.
He said: “Protecting vulnerable people and increasing public confidence are major priorities for us.
“South Shields, quite rightly, has a reputation for its vibrant nightlife, and we want people to come here and enjoy themselves.
“But we also want people to get home safely and remember their night for the right reasons, not the wrong ones.
“While we’ll always ask people to drink responsibly and look after themselves and their group when on a night out, it’s important that people placed within the town centre – such as door staff or Street Angels – and those who have a direct eye on it, such as CCTV operators, know how to spot those who have drunk that little bit too much, putting themselves in a vulnerable situation and at risk of harm.
“Everyone has responded really well to the training and I hope it goes a long way to making the town centre an even safer place to enjoy a night out.”
Ms Baird said: “Doing everything we can to protect vulnerable people is one of my priorities.
“People need to know the place they are visiting to socialise offers a safe environment, and the roll-out of this training to not only door staff, but other key individuals working in South Tyneside will hopefully go a long way to making sure this is the case.
“People don’t often realise when they are vulnerable, and can get into situations through no fault of their own.
“We have a duty to look after them, whatever the circumstance.”
Coun Tracey Dixon, South Tyneside Council’s lead member for area management and community safety, said: “We want people to come to South Shields and enjoy their night out, but we also want people to stay safe.
“We are pleased that this training has been offered to our CCTV staff and community wardens.
“It will help them to identify those who are in a vulnerable situation around our pubs and clubs, whether they have lost their friends or had too much to drink, and know what steps to take to make sure they are okay.
“Our officers do everything they can to ensure people’s safety.
“However, individuals also have a responsibility to look after themselves and drink in moderation.”