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Mayor Walsh and Commissioner Gross issue public safety guidelines for nightclubs and licensed establishments


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BOSTON - Thursday, December 12, 2019 - Today, Mayor Martin J. Walsh joined Boston Police Commissioner William Gross and Chairwoman of the Boston Licensing Board Kathleen Joyce to release a guide of best public safety practices for nightclubs and other licensed establishments, enhancing safety for people participating in nightlife in Boston. The guide is a result of a collaborative process among the Boston Police Department, the Licensing Board, licensees and public safety agencies to recommend practices on how to develop a safe atmosphere, respond to crimes and serious incidents, fire safety, rideshare safety, and more.

“Going out in Boston should be a fun, safe, and enjoyable experience for everyone, but we’ve seen cases where people are victimized — especially young women,” said Mayor Walsh. “No one should ever feel unsafe in our City. It’s critical that we work collaboratively to make sure our bars, nightclubs, and other establishments keep their patrons and staff safe.”

“The Boston Police Department is committed to working with our partners to ensure safety for our residents and visitors in every corner of the city,” said Commissioner Gross. “It is our hope that licensees and their employees throughout the city will find this helpful in improving public safety for the patrons of their establishments.”

The City’s number one priority is to ensure public safety for everyone, including establishing that the more than 3,000 licensees in Boston are running safe, law-abiding businesses. To maintain this, the Licensing Board reviews each police report received about any of its licensees and takes action by scheduling a hearing or inspection of the establishment.

Licensees should always create security plans with an overview of operations and security, the locations of security cameras, policies and procedures for training staff, and inspection of identification and the dispersal of patrons. Licensees must ensure that their employees call 911 to report criminal activity or medical emergencies, and encouraged to notify police for assistance when a patron is removed from the establishment.

“Licensees should not be apprehensive about calling Boston Police in the event of an impaired or unruly patron for fear of disciplinary action by the Board,” said Chairwoman of the Boston Licensing Board Kathleen Joyce. “We will continue to streamline our own board processes and efficiencies as we work to protect and improve the public safety at all of the licensed premises in the City of Boston.”

The guide outlines recommendations for mitigating intoxication, sexual assault, age verification and promoters. Each licensed premise is strongly encouraged to create a relationship with the Boston Police Department and neighboring licensees to effectively prevent and handle public safety issues.

The guide also suggests preparedness measures and responses to crimes and serious incidents. To be prepared for when an assault or incident occurs, the Boston Police Department and the Licensing Board suggest maintaining lists of present employees and for private events, obtaining contact information of the group. The plan also outlines measures to handle the scene following an incident.

Regarding rideshare services, the guidelines are designed to encourage patrons of nightclubs and licensed establishments to take measures to ensure car and driver safety when using the service. Employees should offer to call a cab for the vulnerable or impaired patrons, and closely observe as they leave to ensure they’re able to navigate safely. Security personnel at the door or outside should observe when patrons leave and should take general note of whom patrons arrive with and whether they leave with the same group or someone else.

The guide also suggests best practices for nightclub fire safety and counterterrorism prevention and mitigation. In cases of fire, it lists methods to create a safe evacuation procedure and ways to maintain patron safety during the fire emergency. The guidelines covering counterterrorism list ways establishments can avoid being a target, the characteristics of an attack, awareness, response and evacuation plans, bomber identification and communication strategies.

In all cases of emergency, the Boston Police Department emphasizes calling 911.


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