Viva this new anti-violence scheme

We all know the justice system is far from perfect – in fact, it frequently throws up injustices. One of the most obvious – and one which deeply affects the hospitality sector – is the effect of violent incidents on licensed premises.

With so many pressures on the justice and prison system, the need for courts to hand down anything other than custodial sentences is understandable. But what we see happening again and again is those who cause incidents in licensed venues walking away with a fine or community service order, while the venue faces stringent punishment – up to and often including the closing down of premises.

A new initiative has been put in place to mitigate this unfair situation and we at Complete Licensing are fully behind it. The Violence In Venues Agreement (VIVA) is a civil recovery scheme which levies a fee on those who cause violence in licensed premises in England and Wales.

The scheme, which has already been successfully tested in the courts, is designed to make perpetrators of violence think twice before committing any actions, and to make them pay if they do. Subscribers leave the administration of issuing fees and debt collection to VIVA, and all the venues need to do is promote the scheme on site.

Violent incidents in licensed premises have increased notably since the Covid 19 pandemic, putting staff and customers at risk and threatening the existence of businesses. The regulatory framework puts the onus on venues to prevent violence and whilst the consequences for perpetrating an incident can be temporary for an individual, licensing authorities and police can and often will impose punitive restrictions on venues or even close them down following such incidents.

VIVA redressed this imbalance, making sure that those responsible for such incidents actually pay for their actions. Not only is the licence holder recompensed, but membership of VIVA discourages acts of violence and is a crucial statement to the authorities that the venue is serious about operating a well-run, violence-free venue.

Signing up to the scheme is swift and simple – and could prove crucial to your business.