Agenda item

Application for the review of a current premises licence, Licensing Act 2003 - Splitz, 37 Quebec Street, Dereham, Norfolk, NR19 2DJ.

Minutes:

The following persons were in attendance to speak:

 

Licence Holder

Ms Michelle Menzies

 

Licence Holder Representative

Mr I Fisher

 

Licence Holder Witnesses

Mr K Lindsay

Mr K Oliver

 

Interested Parties - Norfolk Police Authority

Mr T Grover

Inspector Brown

Inspector Abbs

 

Interested Parties - Witnesses

Dave Lebourn

 

 

The hearing was conducted in accordance with the procedures as set out in the Agenda.

 

DECISION

The Sub-Committee suspends the License for a period of one-month and amends the conditions attached to the Premises Licence as set out below., noting the unacceptable history of the premises under the Licensing Act 2003 objectives and to enable the amended conditions to be introduced.

 

REASONS FOR THE DECISION

The Sub-Committee when reaching its decision has taken account of the October 2012 s182 guidance and noted the need to identify causes of concern and ensure that any action taken is an appropriate and proportional response (paragraph 11.20), the need to be aware of any detrimental financial impact whilst being ready to take necessary action to tackle causes of concern (paragraph 11.23) and noted that the sub-committee’s duty to take steps was to be exercised in the interests of the wider community in the promotion of the licensing objectives rather than the interests of the individual licence holder (paragraph 11.26).

The Sub-Committee found that whilst not all the incidents shown in the supporting documents provided by the Norfolk Constabulary could be confirmed as being connected with the premises there were sufficient connected matters to show that long standing problems exist with these premises with an unacceptable level of violent incidents and intoxication of customers.  There are concerns regarding compliance with the Licensing Objectives. The Sub-Committee notes that this concern is recognised to some extent by the holder of the premises licence in that it was accepted on her behalf that the historic situation could not be allowed to continue. 

The Sub-Committee has noted the number and seriousness of the incidents presented in the police evidence.  An example causing concern is shown in the written evidence of PC Jeremy Brown mentioning that on the 6 January 2013 two females were on leaving the premises so intoxicated that an ambulance needed to be called for them, the “summary of police involvement” on page 59 of the agenda stating that both passed out outside the front entrance to the premises.

Despite receipt of police warnings (previously referred to in error as notification of review),  for example by letter of the 13 January 2013 which required an immediate improvement in the ratio and nature of incidents failing which further action would be considered, incidents of concern have continued.  For example the Sub-Committee accepted the written evidence of Special Constable Vicki Aldous that on 16 February 2013 whilst she was present in the bar in plain clothes there was a likely drunk person served by bar staff, and a person who appeared underage had drinks bought for him..

The Sub-Committee found the premises had been badly managed for a considerable period and are concerned at the lack of control exercised by the management of the premises.

There appeared to be an inappropriate reliance by Ms Menzies upon her Head Doorman in respect of the management of the door staff and the Committee feel Ms Menzies should take a more active role as a manager in security matters.

Having come to a view regarding the nature of the problems at the premises the Sub-Committee reviewed the suggested additional conditions proposed by the Norfolk Constabulary and require the introduction of additional conditions as follows, noting that the holder of the Premises Licence has agreed that many of these were appropriate and should be introduced:

IMPOSED CONDITIONS:

  1.  
  2. There will be no entry or re-entry by customers to the premises after 01.00am on any day.
  3.  
  4. All staff employed in the retail sale of alcohol within the premises must have achieved a recognised qualification that would entitle them to apply for a Personal Licence.
  5. The Manager or DPS will ensure that all staff employed in the retail sale of alcohol within the premises receives refresher training in the requirements of current licensing laws on an annual basis.
  6. Training records for all staff employed in the retail sale of alcohol within the premises will be kept and updated with all training provided.  Such records will be made available to Police representatives upon reasonable request.
  7. A minimum of 6 properly licensed security personnel will be on duty at the premises between the hours of 10pm and half an hour after the premises closes for business on every Friday, Saturday and seasonal variation nights.  Four security personnel are required on other nights.
  8. Security personnel are required to wear high visibility clothing at all times both inside and outside the premises.
  9. A minimum of two security staff will be present at the main entrance to the premises at the point where access is gained via the archway from Quebec Street at all times.
  10. A continuous presence will be maintained by security staff in all public areas of the premises at all times.
  11. No person under the age of 18 years will be permitted into the premises, except that persons under the age of 18 years are able to attend ‘no alcohol’ youth events for which written approval has been obtained from both the Police and the Licensing Authority prior to such events taking place.
  12. As a condition of entry security personnel or other club staff will require recognised forms of photo identification from any person who appears to be under the age of 25 years before allowing them access to the premises.  Any refusals will be noted in a ‘refusals book’.  This book will be made available for inspection to Police representatives upon reasonable request.
  13. A digital CCTV system which meets the requirements of current British Standards must be installed at the premises and maintained in good working order at all times.  It should be capable of providing images that meet current evidential standards.  Sufficient cameras will be installed to monitor all entrances, bars and public areas within the buildings and outside area, within the perimeter of the premises.  Cameras will also be placed outside to monitor all entrances to the premises.  Copies of images must be downloaded onto a digital format and provided to Police representatives upon reasonable request.  Images must be kept for at least 28 days.
  14. Lighting within and around the premises must facilitate the recording of CCTV images to meet current evidential standards.
  15.  
  16. Cloakroom facilities will be available at all times when the premises are open for business for personal property to be safely stored if required.
  17. Management, club staff and security staff employed must be contactable between each other by means of personal radio system.

 

  1. A condition that all licensable activities at the venue are permitted only between 10:00am and 02:00 am with no seasonal exceptions is not imposed in the hope that the changed conditions and improved management mean that the premises despite retaining the same opening hours will sufficiently comply with the licensing objectives.
  2. This is imposed as it is accepted that the current time of entry encourages entry or attempted entry by intoxicated persons who have been drinking elsewhere for a lengthy period (referred to as a “final destination” problem) , and an earlier last entry condition should reduce these concerns.
  3. A condition regarding the opening hours being between 10:00am and 02:15am is not appropriate, considering the decision under Condition 1 above.
  4. Agreed and Imposed.
  5. Agreed and Imposed.
  6. Agreed and Imposed.
  7. Noting the history of problems at the premises the Sub-Committee supports the suggested security staff numbers proposed by the Norfolk Constabulary in respect of those nights/early mornings which are likely to be most in need of control and supervision.
  8. Agreed and Imposed.
  9. Imposed in order to ensure adequate control and supervision.
  10. Imposed in order to ensure adequate control and supervision.
  11. Imposed with amended wording. The history of problems at the premises means that whilst the Sub-Committee did not want to prohibit such events it is appropriate to support the licensing objective of the protection of children from harm for any such event to be subject to the agreement of both the licensing authority and the Norfolk Constabulary.
  12. Agreed and Imposed with amended wording to take account of the policy of “Challenge 25” introduced by the management of the premises.
  13. Agreed and Imposed.
  14. Agreed and Imposed.
  15. The sought condition that a member of the management team at the premises will be present at the main entrance to the building at all times when the premises are open for business is not imposed, on the basis that it would be disproportionate noting other conditions and the limited number of management.
  16. Agreed and Imposed.
  17. Agreed and Imposed with amended wording to expressly ensure management must be included.

As a result of the above the following existing licence conditions are deleted: condition 11 above replaces existing condition 70 and condition 12 above replaces existing condition 71.

 

Supporting documents: