The BACIL Awards 2023: Celebrating The Unsung Heroes That Make Leeds A Safer City

Last night, saw the return of the BACIL Awards 2023, with over 200 guests from both the retail and night-time economy attending the prestigious event along with the guest of honour, recently appointed Lord Mayor, Councillor Al Garthwaite. 

BACIL (Business Against Crime in Leeds) is a dedicated organisation protecting business premises both in retail and the night-time industry in Leeds. Its main aim is to make the city a safer place for both customers and staff who work in the hospitality and retail sector.

The awards, now in their 9th year, were created to recognise outstanding achievements and shine a light on the businesses and teams that consistently go the extra mile. The awards for both the day and night sectors include Best Security Team, Best National Venue, Best Independent Venue, and Outstanding Contribution to BACIL. 

Sean Walker, Head of Bacil, said: 

“The BACIL awards were put together in 2014 to recognise the hard work of BACIL member business and partner agency teams working on the front line. These teams go above and beyond in their roles to reduce the potential for crime and disorder in and around Leeds City Centre by working in partnership and sharing information over the BACIL network. 

The last year has been a particular challenge to these teams against a backdrop of rising business costs and cost of living increases. Even with these challenges, this year’s BACIL AWARDS 2023 nominees have demonstrated exemplary partnership work and information sharing via the BACIL radio and web network. 

This hard work has led to positive identification and arrest of known criminals in the city and reduced potential for crime and disorder, both in and around their premises and in the city as a whole.”

This year the awards saw the introduction of two new awards, Outstanding Contribution to Daytime Female Security and Outstanding Contribution to Night-time Female Security. Designed to put the increased focus on female security across the city in the spotlight, the evening was turned pink to honour the new female-focused awards. 

Jon Hancock, BACIL Co-chair for NTE said: 

”Female safety has always been a big focus for BACIL members and our partners, and we wanted to make it even more so this year. Initiatives such as the Violence Against Women and Girls initiative from West Yorkshire Police, Ask Angela in the NTE, and LCC Safer Leeds’ Walk Safe app are all making a huge impact.”

 ”Not only have they each received widespread support from businesses and their teams across the city, but they are all helping to keep female students and indeed women of all ages safe in the city.”

The awards made a return to one of Leeds’ most historic venues, the Faversham, and were hosted by Leeds entrepreneur and bar owner, Terry George, and Drag Queen Precious McMichael’s.  

Winners on the night included: 

  • Best Day Time Shopping Centre Security: St Johns Centre & Merrion Centre 

  • Best Daytime Store Security: John Lewis

  • Outstanding Contribution to Daytime Female Security: Victoria Leeds

  • Outstanding Partner to BACIL Daytime Award: Lodge Security

  • Best Night-Time Independent Night-time Security: Toast

  • Best National Chain Night-time Security: Be At One, Greek Street

  • Outstanding Contribution to Night-time Female Security: Leeds Women’s Night Safe Space

  • Outstanding Partner to BACIL Night-time Award: Controlled Space, Street Marshalls

BACIL is partnered with the West Yorkshire Police, Leeds City Council and Safer Leeds, and has over 420 members, all united by the goal to prevent and reduce criminality and antisocial behaviour on the streets of Leeds. 

BACIL also works closely with Pubwatch, a voluntary organisation set up to promote best practice. Their aim is to achieve a safer drinking environment in all licensed premises throughout the UK.

Sean Walker, Head of Bacil, commented: 

”BACIL are integral to the Leeds Business Crime Reduction Partnership. We provide radios and intelligence products to all our members and partners highlighting active offenders and prison releases of previously active offenders so that they can be deterred from offending or arrested and taken back into custody.” 

The 2023 awards were sponsored by True Security, specialists in security staffing for hospitality and events. 

Paul Bamford, director of True Security said:

”We are proud to be supporting this year’s awards. Our business is all about protecting both the daytime and night-time industry. The awards are the perfect way to celebrate the great work the people in the hospitality industry have achieved and continue to do so.”   

Considering the focus on female safety, this year, BACIL partnered with Leeds charity, Women’s Aid, whose main focus is on protecting women and their families from the damage that domestic abuse and violence can cause. 

Nik Peasgood, CEO, Leeds Women’s Aid said: 

“Leeds Women’s Aid are honoured to have been chosen as a charity partner for the BACIL Awards 2023. This year’s focus on female safety is a natural fit with our belief that women and girls should live free from fear and abuse. As the lead organisation in Women & Girls Alliance Leeds, we’re proud to deliver Women Friendly Leeds and other women’s safety projects, working with BACIL member businesses.”

”The awards are a fantastic opportunity to come together to celebrate the thriving night-time economy in Leeds and shine a light on the outstanding work taking place. By joining together, businesses can empower and support each other to innovate and champion safety in our city.”

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