A raft of safety measures has been launched to support the return of Stirling’s night-time economy this weekend.
Go Forth Stirling BID and its partners are taking action to assist the industry and ensure people are safe as Stirling gets ready for Hallowe’en celebrations and the reopening of popular city nightclub Fubar.
The BID has stepped in to fund taxi marshals from Wednesday to Sunday, after the usual budget for the scheme was withdrawn, and ‘safe haven’ initiative Safebase will be in place to support night-time visitors on Saturday and Sunday.
Safebase aims to provide a safe environment for anyone visiting the city at night and includes volunteer-led first aid patrols and an area for people to shelter if they have been stranded due to injury, incapacity or missing transport home.
Stirling Street Pastors will also be patrolling city centre streets to offer help and look out for anyone who finds themselves in a vulnerable situation while Police Scotland have extra officers on duty this weekend.
Go Forth Stirling Project Director Danielle McRorie-Smith said: “This is a week of concentrated action from the BID and our partners to support our night-time economy as it gets back on its feet.
“We also want to keep people safe during what is historically the busiest weekend of the year, with numbers similar to Freshers’ Week, and at a time when there have been reports across the UK of drink-spiking incidents.
“It’s all about making sure there’s a raft of measures in place should anyone be vulnerable in Stirling.”
Ms McRorie-Smith added: “We were disappointed to discover funding for taxi marshals had been cut as this is an important service which the city and its night-time economy needs and the BID has therefore agreed to cover that cost as a one-off.”
“As well as ensuring there are orderly queues at the city’s two taxi ranks, the marshals also liaise with the Safebase and Street Pastors teams and radio them if they come across anyone needing help.
“So, it really is an essential service and we’re pleased to fund it and provide four marshals who will be there until an hour after all licensed premises have closed from Wednesday to Sunday this week.
“We’re also in talks with university officers about bringing back night-time buses for students and are liaising with Police Scotland who are increasing staffing for this weekend.
“And Go Forth Stirling are delighted to be a partner on the Safebase initiative which will help make Stirling a secure environment for everyone as we welcome back our night-time industry.”
The BID also recently introduced a team of Ambassadors who patrol Stirling’s streets during the day to provide a welcome to tourists and visitors, support business owners and report any environmental and anti-social issues.
They also assist business owners with reporting incidents to the crime-fighting Retailers Against Crime (RAC) initiative implemented by the BID to give all independent traders real-time alerts when thefts and other crimes are happening in the city.
Meanwhile, a partnership of city organisations are involved in the Safebase programme whose team will be on hand to provide support and assistance on Saturday and Sunday night (October 30 and 31).
They operate between 10pm and 4am on Saturday/Sunday and Sunday/Monday with the ‘safe haven’ located at the Service Entrance of the Thistles on Goosecroft Road.
And first-aid and Street Pastor patrols will be underway in Goosecroft Road, Forth Place, Upper Craigs, King Street, Baker Street, Murray Place,
Maxwell Place and other central locations.
Richard Mclennan, chair of Safebase Scotland, said: “Our aim is to create a safer experience for people who are out enjoying Stirling’s night-time economy.
“Our team can help with a variety of situations – for example if people are lost or need help to find a taxi home.
“They can carry out first aid which minimises the need for ambulances to come into the city centre and means that injured people may not need to visit A&E.
“We can also provide mental health support by giving people the space to come and chat for a while and somewhere safe for individuals to wait if they’ve missed the last bus home.”
Mr Mclennan said he was disappointed to hear funding had been cut for taxi marshals describing them as a “vital part of the cohesive partnership strategy” which makes Stirling safer.
He said: “Not having taxi marshals would end up with the Safebase team and police officers being taken away from our normal duties so I’m pleased the BID has been able to step in and ensure this important service goes ahead this week.”
The provision of Safebase is expected to lead to a reduced number of crime reports raised, reassurance around the fear of crime and better public order.
The full list of Safebase partners comprises the Thistles, Stirling Street Pastors, the Royal Voluntary Service, Police Scotland Forth Valley Division, CCTV, Go Forth Stirling and the Scottish Ambulance Service.