Personal tools
You are here: Home VivaCity2020 Toolkit Night Time Economy and Crime: Manchester

Night Time Economy and Crime: Manchester


ToolsHouseBased on a paper entitled Manchester and its Late Night Economy, written by Dr. Lesley Mackay. For a full copy of this paper, click here. (Microsoft Word document, 269kb)



WP3AlleyThe development of a late-night economy has been very important to Manchester’s regeneration initiatives. This regeneration has also included an increase in the number of city centre residents. This case study considers the potential conflict between the growth of the late-night economy and the increase of city centre residents. Labelled as the leisure capital of the North, Manchester does need to prevent itself becoming mono-cultural and dominated by under-30s and binge-drinkers. This evokes challenges for the City Council and the Police to make the city safe and suitable for users of all ages. Initiatives have already been implemented by both the Council and the Police and are outlined in the case study, along with ways of reducing crime and fear of crime in the late-night economy. A list of recommendations for improving the ambience and safety of the city at night is also included.



The focus of Manchester’s regeneration in recent years has been the development of a night-time economy. The regeneration is aimed at a wide audience, and attention has been paid to the fact that there is domination by the under-30s and a binge drinking culture. Manchester has the highest rate of violence outside of London and the regeneration has aimed to make the city centre feel safe to users and be safe in actuality.



Interviews were conducted with a number of parties, including council officers, police officers, and members of the City Centre Management Team. Informal conversations were conducted with taxi drivers, door supervisors, taxi marshals, street crime wardens, bus company staff, fast food outlet staff and Manchester residents. Discussions were also conducted with academics researching Manchester’s regeneration.

Researchers observed the late-night economy of Manchester first hand, and further observations of the venues and their environments were undertaken during the day. Visits included observing the control rooms of CCTV systems, along with attending local events and conferences. Council plans and strategies were consulted, along with relevant websites.



Much of Manchester’s changes follow the devastation caused by the 1996 IRA bombing attack upon the city centre.WP3 Manch The city centre regeneration strategy aimed to stimulate the late-night economy of the city and attract developers. It was noted that an advantage could be had from a large residential population to use the shops and facilities provided by developers. With a good night-time offer, Manchester city centre would attract young, single professional residents. Manchester began to pursue the goal of becoming a 24-hour city, with increased city centre residents and a bigger night-time economy. Redevelopment initiatives from the city council focussed on a number of issues, including licensing, retail, cafes and restaurants, lighting and CCTV.

As planned, parallel with the growth of Manchester’s night-time economy came a rise in the number of city centre residents, from less than 1000 in 1991 to an estimated 20,000 in 2007. Manchester is now important for retail, and in 2003 became part of the top 5 shopping destinations in the UK. This has been good for business and employment in the city, but unemployment is still high in comparison to the national average.

The case study noted that for a successful regeneration, Manchester needed a wide-ranging appeal to audiences of different ages. Shops in the city centre are encouraged to remain open until 8pm to bridge the gap between 5.30 and the restaurants and theatres opening. The evening offer was noted to include restaurants, cinemas, theatres and concert halls, museums and libraries, sport, hotels, casinos, pubs and clubs.

The case study identified a number of primary concerns for residents in the city centre, including noise, crime and fear of crime. The Greater Manchester Policy initiative, City Centre Safe, is outlined in detail, with descriptions of schemes in operation to improve the city, including ASBOs and fixed penalty notices, the Door Safe Scheme for door staff, CCTV and underage drinking.

Issues of concern in the late night economy which have been researched in the case study include transport after hours and Manchester City Council’s transport strategies; buses; Metrolink; trains; taxis; taxi marshals; private hire vehicles; and the TaxiSafe Scheme. Transport plays a critical role in the regeneration, with the development of an integrated transport strategy being a central component of the master planning framework.

Managing the late-night economy is an issue for Manchester City Council, with large numbers of people in the city late at night. Things which need to be looked at and addressed include car parking; shutters; litter; toilets; takeaways; ATMs; beggars; graffiti; fly posting; skate boarders; prostitution; drugs; and door staff.

The researchers account their observations of Manchester over weekend nights, highlighting many issues and recommendations for the city in its night-time economy.



Manchester aspires to be a city of European stature, but needs to moderate the excessive behaviours of the users of the late-night economy to ensure the city becomes more attractive to visitors. Council and police initiatives have been found to make a different to the crime levels, particularly initiatives such as the City Centre Safe scheme. New residents and the growth in cafes and café culture has been found to be good for Manchester.


ToolsHouseBased on a paper entitled Manchester and its Late Night Economy, written by Dr. Lesley Mackay. For a full copy of this paper, click here. (Microsoft Word document, 269kb)

BackHouseBack to Case Studies
Document Actions