Stay safe this winter in Swindon town centre

3 December 2019

With the festive period fast approaching, many people will be preparing for nights out celebrating their office Christmas parties or with family and friends. Swindon town centre is geared up with the night-time economy putting on plenty of events with special offers to make it a night to remember.

Ensuring visitors enjoy their evenings in the town centre and stay safe, inSwindon BID Company Ltd employs Taxi Marshals to work Saturday evenings, helping people to get home safely. The Taxi Marshal role has been in place for three years and plays a vital role in the night-time economy helping people find taxis at busy times during the night. They support the Police and provide assistance on the Ask Angela scheme which helps vulnerable people The Marshals primarily operate from John St and patrol the area to support with the safety of the public by safeguarding them against any possible danger.

Di Powell, inSwindon BID CEO commented on the value the Taxi Marshals brings on the night-time economy: “Our role as a Business Improvement District is to support businesses in both the day-time and night-time economies and to collaborate with our local partner authorities to ensure a safe and welcoming town centre. We want people to come to Swindon town centre, day and night, and feel safe.

“Our Street Team Ambassadors play an integral role in supporting our businesses during the day, but we want to ensure we’re also supporting and doing our bit for businesses who operate in the evenings. We have more than 30 businesses who operate in the night-time economy, making Swindon a vibrant destination in the evenings but we’re wanting to ensure it’s a safe destination for everyone to enjoy. Taxi marshals can assist in supporting the venues with people leaving their premises in an orderly fashion, and by doing so, reduce the impact of noise and other anti-social behaviour to residents living nearby whilst ensuring people get home safely.

“With Christmas fast approaching we anticipate that we’ll see many more visitors to the town centre and want to remind everyone to stay safe, and if you have any concerns around getting home, to reach out to our Taxi Marshals for support.”

This role is endorsed by Wiltshire Police, PC Paul Bezzant, of the Swindon South Community Policing Team said: “Crime and anti-social behaviour in Swindon is relatively low and that is helped by our work with partners and schemes like this one.

"It's our commitment to keep the town a safe and pleasant place to go out and socialise within.

"Although it is everyone’s personal responsibility to keep themselves safe by being mindful where they are and who they are with, the Taxi Marshal scheme gives that additional level of reassurance when someone is wanting a cab – whether they are alone or in a group - as well as helping to reduce anti-social behaviour in the town.”

Justin Britchford, Manager at MECA and Chair of PubWatch said: “Since the role of the Taxi Marshal has come into place, we’ve seen a positive impact on the level of anti-social behaviour in the town. Funding this role demonstrates how inSwindon BID is committed to supporting the night-time economy and promoting Swindon town centre as a safe and vibrant place to go at night. The marshals are able to reassure people that they will be able to find a licensed taxi in a controlled queue, assisting in preventing anti-social behaviour, improving the safety of vulnerable persons and dealing with confrontational situations.”

The Taxi Marshal service operates in Swindon town centre from 11pm until 4am on Saturday evenings. BID Taxi Marshals are easily identified by their fluorescent jackets and radios. Taxi Marshals are responsible for:

  • Ensuring visitors are able to find a licensed taxi in a safe place for passengers.
  • Ensuring passengers are fit to travel and have the necessary means to pay their taxi fare.
  • Giving priority service to vulnerable people.
  • Liaising with the Police to ensure anti-social behaviour is not tolerated in the town centre.