The police reported that at the previous temporary event there had been a large fight in the street involving approximately 20 people. A claw hammer had been found at the scene with blood on it. The injured parties did not want to pursue the matter but the police had concerns due to this event. He stated that there had been problems at Festac three years ago and he was concerned that these problems would return.
In response to questions, it was noted that the previous temporary event had been a private party and the police had agreed the temporary event noticed based on this information. However, due to the problems at the last event they were concerned about the type of crowd they would get at this event. The police stated that the incident had occurred near closing time and conditions required that customers leave the area quietly. He stated that security should be proactive when customers were dispersing.
The licensee reported that the fight that took place was not directly opposite the premises but was about 30 yards down the road. There was security in place. Customers had started to leave but there were still customers on the premises when the fight started. The police were driving by and saw the fight. The licensee accepted that the people involved had been Festac customers. It was the submission of the police that he had not been co-operative. He considered that this was a misunderstanding. The shutters were already down and the police banged on the shutters. The licensee informed police that he had not slept for three days so would provide the CCTV the following morning. He considered that the police misunderstood and had stated that CCTV would not be provided for three days. The officer had not called back for the CCTV and the first he knew that it was still required was following the objection to this temporary event notice. He was happy to provide CCTV and had received letters of thanks for providing it in the past. He did not consider it would be workable to ask security to encourage customers to disperse as he would have to move more security from inside the premises to outside. He had about six or seven security personnel. He considered that this was a low risk even. He already had a licence until 2am on Sundays and just wanted an additional 2 ½ hrs. Security and the DJs had been booked for this event. He stated that there would be a different crowd to this event as the last event had under 21s. He stated that it would be difficult to change this event at this stage.
In response to questions it was noted that security and DJs had been booked for this event. Customers had purchased tickets and had been informed of the end time for the event. It was noted that a promoted birthday party would occur when a birthday party was held but to cover costs friends would pay at the door. This was common practice. It was accepted by the licensee that he would have no control over ticket sales. The licensee informed the Sub-Committee that he had told the police officer at the time of the previous incident that he had not slept for three days, he gave the officer his telephone number and informed him that the CCTV would be ready for him. The officer did not call him back. He provided CCTV after the objection to the temporary event notice. The police officer informed the Sub-Committee that there had not been a formal request for the CCTV as the injured parties did not wish to pursue the matter. The licensing officer had subsequently requested the CCTV and it had been provided to him. The licensee did not think it was possible for someone to take a claw hammer into the premises as all patrons were searched. He thought that they would have obtained the weapon away from the premises.
In summary, the police officer stated that they had worked closely with the licensee but considered that rules had been relaxed and perhaps previous problems were starting to come back. He was concerned that security did not deal with the fight even though it was only 30 yards away. If there were six security officers at the premises he considered that three could have dealt with the fight. Patrons were the responsibility of the premises until they had left the area. If the party had been planned for three months then a temporary event application could have been made earlier and then matters could have been discussed. He did not consider that anything could be put in place at this stage.
The licensee considered that the best he could do was to send one or two security personnel to the incident. If there was an incident customers might want to see the fight and cause problems inside the premises. He was always happy to provide CCTV and had provided CCTV in this case. There were few under 21s at this event. Often the over 21s caused more problems.
That the application for a temporary event notice in respect of Festac, 148 Holloway Road, N7 8DD for the period 21:00 hours on Sunday 28 May 2017 until 04:30 hours on Monday 29 May be refused and a counter notice be issued under Part 5, Section 105.
REASONS FOR DECISION
The Sub-Committee listened to all the evidence and submissions and read all the material. The Sub-Committee reached the decision having given consideration to the Licensing Act 2003, as amended, and its regulations, the national guidance and the Council’s Licensing Policy.
The Sub-Committee noted that the licensee accepted that the people involved in the fight were customers of Festac. The Sub-Committee also noted that the licensee had adequate security at the premises although this had not been deployed to deal with the incident in question. The police had raised this in their submissions and had also had discussions with the licensee but he did not have an operation plan in place to prevent any similar violent incident
The Sub-Committee noted the police’s submissions regarding relaxation of conditions at the premises and their concern that this may be leading to a return of customers that could cause problems in and around the venue. A risk assessment had not been provided for the TEN event which led to the fight as required and on receipt of the current TEN application the police were able to consider the risk posed by the proposed event more carefully and in light of what happened previously.
The Sub-Committee heard evidence that the event had been planned for three months and DJs had been booked. However the police only received the application for the TEN on the 12 May 2017. The event was a ticketed event and the sale of tickets was not under the control of the licensee.
The Sub-Committee was guided by paragraph 9.12 of the Home Office guidance which provides that the licensing authority should accept all reasonable and proportionate representations made by the police unless the authority has evidence that to do so would not be appropriate for the promotion of the licensing objectives. The Sub-Committee concluded that the licensee was only seeking 2 ½ additional hours and that it would be proportionate and appropriate for the police objection to be accepted in order to promote the licensing objective on crime and disorder.
The Sub-Committee noted licensing policy 27 which states that applicants are encouraged to submit TEN notifications at least four weeks prior to the event. The licensee failed to follow the licensing policy in this regard. The Sub-Committee also noted licensing policy 28 and considered the circumstances of the police objection whch focussed on a serious violent incident amongst customers from the venue and involving a claw hammer where the indication is that the customers involved were already armed with this weapon.
In deciding to direct the licensing authority to issue a counter notice, the Sub-Committee were satisfied that it was reasonable and proportion for the promotion of the licensing objectives.