Aberdeen city centre has been hailed as a shining example to the rest of the country after securing the prestigious Purple Flag accreditation for the fourth year in a row.
Led by business organisation Aberdeen Inspired, with support from Aberdeen City Council, Police Scotland, Unight, Street Pastors and other key stakeholders, the city has achieved the coveted standard in recognition of its commitment to promoting a safe and secure night time economy.
Aberdeen became the first city in Scotland to be awarded the accreditation in 2014 and has now been re-accredited for the fourth time, receiving praise for its strong partnership working alongside its lively mix of evening entertainment.
Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, welcomed the award and praised the ongoing work which goes into making this continued success possible.
He said: “Securing the Purple Flag award for a fourth year is a great achievement and the result of a concerted effort by a number of organisations working in partnership to enhance Aberdeen city centre’s offering over a number of years.
“The assessors remarked that Aberdeen is a shining example to other cities across the country for all of the work that goes in to improving the city centre, which a fantastic acknowledgement of what has been achieved so far.
“We have developed strong relationships with our many partners over the years and this success is testament to the hard work that goes on, often behind the scenes, to create a better city for residents and visitors.
“The city’s night time economy has an integral part to play in helping us meet our goal of increasing footfall within the city centre and a safe and enjoyable environment is key to this continued success.
“If the city centre is to truly thrive, then fundamentally it must be seen to be safe. It is for all the partners to ensure that we continue to sustain this partnership approach, even through these challenging financial times.”
The Purple Flag scheme is a town and centre award managed by the Association of Town and City Management (ATCM) which looks at the wellbeing, movement, appeal and sense of place within a city centre.
Cities are rewarded for their ability to showcase a variety of initiatives aimed at attracting visitors to the area during the evening.
This year’s application was strengthened by a number of projects aimed at fostering a sense of pride within the city, with Aberdeen Inspired’s Summer of Art, the Painted Doors project and the Aberdeen Comedy Festival, Police Scotland’s Operation Oak campaign and the successful Aberdeen Christmas Village all playing a part.
Aberdeen City Council Leader Councillor Jenny Laing, said: “Receiving Purple Flag accreditation for the fourth year is a testament to the strong partnership work undertaken by the Community Safety Partnership, Aberdeen Inspired, Police Scotland and number of other agencies.
“Aberdeen City Council works closely with a range of partners to deliver initiatives such as Unight, Best Bar None and the taxi marshals which play a huge role in creating a safe and welcoming night time experience.
“I would like to thank all involved for their hard work in making Aberdeen an even safer place to live and visit.”
Area Commander Chief Inspector Graeme Mackie, said: “Police Scotland is delighted that Aberdeen has once again been awarded the Purple Flag for excellence in managing the night-time economy – an accolade that is testament to the well-embedded partnership working that exists to ensure your city-centre is safe.
“Our officers also work hard to make sure that the city is a safe and welcoming place live, work and visit and we continue to record reductions in crime figures year-on-year.
“A great deal of progress has been made throughout the years thanks to the willingness of organisations to work together, and initiatives like Operation Oak and the Best Bar None awards play a huge part in creating this safer and more enjoyable environment.
“Every city-centre comes with its own unique challenges, so we take great pride in achieving this recognition for a fourth consecutive year and maintaining our position as one of the UK’s safest city centres.
“We look forward to continuing this work alongside our partner agencies to support the great progress that has already been made.”
Stuart McPhee, general manager of Siberia Vodka Bar and chairman of Unight Aberdeen, said: “Unight are delighted to be a partner involved in working towards and achieving Purple Flag accreditation for the fourth consecutive year.
“Through all the partnership working that goes into achieving this we have created a safe and welcoming environment throughout our city centre.
“All of our venues work tirelessly to ensure they are the safest they can be, so to know that this is a small part in achieving this award is a great satisfaction to our members.”
Graham Watson, Owner of the Grill Bar, said: “It is thoroughly well deserved and I am delighted that Aberdeen inspired and partners have achieved this recognition for their hard work over the piece.
“Over the past several years, the city centre seems to be a much safer place and that makes it more appealing for people to visit.
The city centre needs to see this type of nationally leading thinking and we are delighted to support the continued progress.”
Aberdeen Inspired is the banner under which the Aberdeen BID (Business Improvement District) operates.
It is a business-led initiative within the city centre in which levy payers within the BID zone contribute. Proceeds are used to fund projects designed to improve the business district and drive footfall to the zone.