Agency to help keep Edinburgh strippers safe

Regulatory body to help ensure staff stay out of danger. Picture: Getty
Regulatory body to help ensure staff stay out of danger. Picture: Getty
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THERE are already regulatory bodies for everything from architects to dentists – and now Edinburgh’s strippers are set to get in on the act.

Managers at Club Rouge in Lothian Road said efforts were under way to create an independent agency which would cooperate with licensing officers and police to ensure safety in strip clubs and adult entertainment venues across the Capital and Scotland.

They said the body would issue “certificates of good practice” to businesses only after they introduced measures to clamp down on abusive customers, unhygienic working environments and unfair charges imposed on dancers when clubs are busy or when they phone in sick.

Day-to-day monitoring and enforcement would be carried out by police and licensing officers, they added.

Alex Smith, manager of Club Rouge, said the current “weak” enforcement process puts workers at risk. He said: “For so long, these things have just been brushed under the carpet, but this is an opportunity for the clubs to say that from now on, they’re going to work together for a better environment.”

He said meetings would soon take place with senior councillors to move the process forward, with the new agency operating on a voluntary basis and financed through a mixture of public money and contributions from the industry. The plans come as Scottish Government ministers continue their own consultation on setting up a national regime.

“What we want to do is to say to the Government that we know they have a concern but that we have a model of what we’re trying to achieve with this and we will work with them,” said Mr Smith.

Licensing chiefs said they were receptive to the principle of a new regulatory body. A spokeswoman said: “The council would welcome any initiative to encourage industry good practice, however we would need more information on this specific proposal to be able to comment further.”

Police urged members of the public to contact them if they had fears over a strip club worker’s safety.

Bare minimum

STRIP bar bosses will have to implement these basic safety measures to be eligible for a certificate:

• Panic buttons in all dance rooms;

• CCTV directed at dance areas at all times;

• Taxis or another form of safe transport for workers;

• Clean, secure changing facilities;

• Designated staff member to whom performers can report abuse and assaults.