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Photo credit - Norman Adams/ Aberdeen City Council


“Emerging world leader” is the only Scottish city to hold accreditation for safety and vibrancy.

Aberdeen has retained its prestigious Purple Flag status for a tenth year, recognising both the safety and vibrancy of the city centre at night.

The Granite City is the only city in Scotland to hold the status, which is similar to the Blue Flag for beaches.

The national safety accreditation was awarded after inspectors visited the city in March to carry out an assessment, which was overseen by Aberdeen Inspired on behalf of its city centre partners.

The judges highlighted the co-location of CCTV, the clear and dynamic partnership working and the city’s “robust and strong” licensing system as particularly strong points.

Managed by the Association of Town & City Management, the accreditation aims to raise the standard and broaden the appeal of town and city centres between the hours of 5pm to 5am.

Cities and towns awarded the Purple Flag are recognised for providing a vibrant and diverse mix of dining, entertainment and culture while promoting the safety and wellbeing of both visitors and local residents.

Innes Walker, Aberdeen Inspired’s City Centre Manager, said: “Aberdeen is the only city in Scotland to have Purple Flag status and we are extremely proud to be able to say that Aberdeen has now held its award for 10 years.

“Receiving the award from the Association of Town & City Management is recognition of a safe and vibrant city centre, both during the evening and night time.

“Continued Purple Flag status is also testament to the teamwork which is seen from organisations across the city including Police Scotland, Aberdeen City Council, Aberdeen Inspired, the licensing and hospitality sectors and Street Pastors, who are all working together to make Aberdeen a safe place to live and work.”

Councillor Martin Greig, culture spokesperson for Aberdeen City Council, said: “Retaining the Purple Flag award for a 10th year in a row is a remarkable achievement. Our success is thanks to the strong tradition of working together that is in place to try and keep our city centre safe.

“Partners including the Council, Police, Street Pastors, and businesses cooperate effectively as a team with the aim of looking after the public safety of everyone. It is reassuring to continue to receive this accreditation as this demonstrates the power of collaborating.”

As part of the accreditation process, the assessors visited various locations across the city including the newly revamped Union Terrace Gardens, as well as the Merchant Quarter and Shiprow Village.

The team had the opportunity to meet with hotel and restaurant owners and publicans to discuss work being done to ensure the city centre is welcoming to all visitors.

Chief Inspector David Paterson of Police Scotland said: “Retaining the Purple Flag status for the 10th year in Aberdeen is an outstanding achievement, and I am incredibly proud of the combined efforts of partners in securing the accreditation.

“We have always taken pride in the strong partnership working within the city centre. We work closely with bars, nightclubs, restaurants and other businesses to ensure the safety of those who enjoy our night-time economy.

“Our City Centre Policing Team work hard all year to reduce the potential for any serious and violent incidents ensuring that Aberdeen continues to be one of the safest cities in the UK.”

Ojay McDonald, CEO of the Association of Town and City Management, praised the city for its partnership work.

"Aberdeen is emerging as a world leader in our Purple Flag network for partnership when it comes to providing a safe and welcoming environment. The partnership overwhelmingly exceeds the required standards we set with effective work in responding to ASB and vacant shops in the city centre in a time of economic challenges across the country.

“The co-location of key infrastructure and stakeholders such as CCTV, council enforcement and the police shows a clear determination to ensure Aberdeen is one of the UK's best managed cities at night.”

The award comes just weeks after Our Union Street was launched, a new community-led initiative to re-energise Aberdeen’s Union Street.

The assessment process also included a briefing with Police Scotland and meeting city centre partners including the Street Pastors and taxi marshals.