Select Committee on Delegated Powers and Deregulation Ninth Report


Memorandum by Superintendent L J Henry, Greater Manchester Police

Paragraph 20

The Deregulation and Contracting Out Act has the safeguard of ensuring that necessary protection is not removed.

Paragraph 21

The proposals in the consultation paper whilst including the existing requirements add one more, viz for the Licensing Authority to consider the 'special nature' of Sundays before deciding whether to grant a variation to a certificate. No guidance is given as to what the term 'special nature' means. This term can be interpreted in different ways in different parts of England and Wales, eg. it can mean that Sunday mornings are special because Church Services take place mainly in the morning. If this interpretation were to become the norm, then it could be argued that Sunday evenings are not as special as the mornings and, therefore, the application would be granted. The term 'special nature' needs to be explained in more detail to guide the Licensing Authorities.

One of the most regular complaints received by the police is one of noise. When this noise is exacerbated by rowdyism from customers of clubs and discos, the police are inundated with many complaints and have to take the necessary steps to gain evidence for revocation applications. This is time consuming and very costly in police resources. Because the next day is a working day, it can be anticipated that the Police will receive more complaints about licensed premises with Special Hours Certificates on Sundays.

Paragraph 22

Contrary to the views expressed in the document, people in most towns and cities do work between 9.00 and 5.00 pm. There is no other explanation for the daily traffic jams in rush hour periods in every city and town in England and Wales.

The whole area of decided cases on Special Hours is littered with examples of higher courts siding with certificate holders as distinct from members of the public or police. The proposals will not alter that and, therefore, those areas which house licensed premises with a Special Hours Certificate on Sundays will suffer for the excesses of the 18-28 year olds who frequent such places and are the target population.

Paragraph 13

The driving force behind the proposals in the past and presumably the current one is the Brewery Industry. There has been no public outcry for the licensing hours on Sundays to be extended as distinct from the request for public music and dancing restrictions to be relaxed.

A visit to any Accident and Emergency Department of any local NHS Hospital on a Friday or Saturday evening and early morning will satisfy any rational thinking person that the proliferation of alcohol and the encouragement so to drink to excess is a sad reflection on the current state in towns and cities of England and Wales. The cost to the NHS in dealing with the results of the many assaults emanating from clubs and discos plus the cost of the necessary security measures which have to be in place so the Department can work effectively, must be enormous. This cost is not borne by the leisure and entertainment industry, but by the whole of society.

The history of Liquor Licensing tells us that when the regulations are relaxed then there is a corresponding increase in anti-social behaviour, disorder, assaults and absences from work.

When the regulations are tightened then correspondingly there is less anti-social behaviour and less sickness etc.

The conclusion to be drawn, therefore, is that the current proposals should be shelved, primaily because of their cost to society as a whole.

6th September 1999


 
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