Memorandum by Superintendent L J Henry,
Greater Manchester Police|
The Deregulation and Contracting Out Act has the
safeguard of ensuring that necessary protection is not removed.
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.
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.
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
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