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Lord McIntosh of Haringey: I am sorry if I was not clear enough. We are saying that we want the provisions for a change in a designated premises supervisor to be as simple as possible. We want to place as small a burden as possible on applicants and to make sure that it is possible for businesses to continue. It is only in the circumstances that I described when I addressed Amendment No. 154—and those are exceptional circumstances—where the police have good reason to think that a situation is dangerous that they would intervene. They would not just say that that was the case but would give their reasons for intervening.

Baroness Buscombe: I am grateful to the Minister for expanding the point. It is reassuring to me and, I hope, to the industry—which is particularly concerned about the matter—and to members of licensing authorities to know that it is expected that proper reasons would be given, whatever the exceptional circumstances may be. On that basis, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 188 to 190 not moved.]

Baroness Buscombe moved Amendment No. 191:

The noble Baroness said: In moving Amendment No. 191, I wish to speak also to Amendment No. 228 concerning the granting of premises licences.

On coming to subsection (10) of Clause 18 I found myself slightly bemused. It states that,

    "a licensing authority may grant a licence . . . subject to different conditions in respect of different parts of the premises concerned".

Can the Minister shed some light on the reasoning behind the measure? It seems strange that different conditions could be applied to one part of a premises but not to the other. I cannot think of a circumstance where such a situation would be necessary or advisable. To take the matter to the extreme, would it not be possible to have different sets of conditions for one premises? If so, it could easily cause confusion and misunderstanding. I do not see why the provision described in paragraph (a) is required. It appears to me

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to be both superfluous and troublesome. I hope that the Minister will be able to reassure me to the contrary. I beg to move.

Lord Davies of Oldham: I hope that I can give the noble Baroness the reassurance she seeks. The Bill is all about flexibility. I refer to the flexibility that may be necessary when a licensee wants to keep his main premises open beyond 11 o'clock at night. However, he also has a beer garden which is an enormously social place in which to be at lunch time and perhaps also in the early evening. However, it is not such a sociable place, certainly not for neighbours, at two o'clock in the morning. Therefore, the granting of the licence may be dependent upon the licensee making it clear that service will cease in the beer garden and that it will not be open for the consumption of liquor after 11 p.m. However, the hostelry itself may be able to continue serving after 11 without causing any disturbance to others.

Another example in the context of licensed premises in general might be a licensed bar in a cinema. One would not want young people to be present in such a bar very late at night. However, they should clearly have access to the cinema if a late film is being shown. The restriction would be placed on their ability to patronise the bar but not to attend the film. Those are two instances where we argue for flexibility. We believe that that flexibility should be sustained. I hope that the noble Baroness accepts those examples.

Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts: Is the measure capable of being interpreted to decree that, if one has a pub with two bars, one could have 100 people in one and 150 in the other, that that would be a requirement of the licensing authority and that the premises licence or the designated premises supervisor would have to ensure that that balance was maintained? If that is the case, unless guidance is given about how the measure is to be implemented, a local authority could make the operation of licensed premises almost impossible by imposing a series of balancing requirements with regard to the capacity and utilisation of different bars. Can paragraph (a) of subsection (10) be used in that way? Potentially it would be complex and difficult to administer from the licence holder's point of view.

9.45 p.m.

Lord Davies of Oldham: I hear what the noble Lord suggests. I do not think that it is conceived that two rooms in the same hostelry should be subject to different considerations in quite that way. But my illustrations surely are the basis on which we would need flexibility. That flexibility needs to be interpreted in accordance with common sense. I was seeking to illustrate that there are areas within the framework of the measure where we would need the necessary flexibility.

The noble Lord is right about two dissimilar rooms in terms of capacity. If one room is used for one purpose—and which clearly has a vastly greater capacity than the other—the licensing authority would say that there is a certain number related to that and a

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different number for a much smaller room. But we are not looking to make these issues intensely complex, we are trying to create the flexibility within which intelligent decisions can be made in order to meet the four broad objectives of the measure.

Baroness Buscombe: I thank the Minister for his reply. I like the idea of flexibility. I am sure I speak for all Members of the Committee in relation to the need for flexibility. I welcome the intervention of my noble friend Lord Hodgson. As to the example that the Minister gave with regard to shutting off the beer garden at 11 o'clock at night, I cannot imagine being the barmaid who will have to push everyone out of the garden and into the bar and so on. It will be quite difficult to implement that in practice. That said, we welcome the need for flexibility. We welcome the examples. Certainly, we will think about what the Minister has said. On that basis, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 18 agreed to.

Lord Harris of Haringey moved Amendment No. 191A:

    After Clause 18, insert the following new clause—

(1) Where representations are made by the chief officer of police for a police area in which the premises are situated and where those representations contain a statement that, due to the exceptional circumstances of the case, he is satisfied that extra policing costs, which in his opinion will be significant, will be incurred as a likely effect of the grant of a premises licence, the licensing authority must take such of the steps mentioned in subsection (2) as it considers necessary.
(2) The steps are—
(a) to grant the licence subject to the condition mentioned in subsection (3),
(b) to exclude from the scope of the licence any of the licensable activities to which the application refers,
(c) to reject the application.
(3) The condition is that every year the holder of the premises licence granted in accordance with subsection (2)(a) shall pay to the police authority for the area in which the premises are situated a sum to be determined by the licensing authority to defray the costs of policing referred to in the representations made under subsection (1)."

The noble Lord said: In moving Amendment No. 191A, I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 247A, 441A and 441B. My reason for tabling these amendments stems from my experience over the past two and a half years as chair of the Metropolitan Police Authority. I declare that as an interest. During that time I have spent a great deal of time visiting every London borough to hear how policing issues are working out and what particular problems and difficulties may arise.

In an enormous variety of parts of London the issue of policing implications for licensed premises emerges as a significant problem. That is the reason for the amendment. Amendment No. 191A is designed to give the police an opportunity to make representations to the licensing authority to the effect—this would not be

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a routine matter, it would be intended to be flexible and to be an alternative to objecting to the grant of a licence—that, because of the exceptional circumstances of a particular application, there would be extra policing costs, and that those extra policing costs would be likely to be significant.

If such a representation were made—and only if—the licensing authority would be required to consider it. It would then have discretion as to whether to proceed and to place as a condition on the licence that the holder of the premises licence should pay an annual sum each year to the police authority to defray the costs of additional policing. The remaining amendments are designed to ensure that the process would allow an appeals process. If people felt that the licensing authority had acted inappropriately in response to representations, there would be a mechanism for an appeals process and also a mechanism for review at a later stage.

I believe that there is widespread concern in London, and more generally around the country, about specific licensed premises—I refer not to licensed premises in general but to some individual ones—either because of what the licensee hopes will happen in those clubs or because of the number of people likely to attend. The concern could be about the way people are likely to behave inside and outside or about the way in which premises are managed or are likely to be managed.

Quite recently the Greater London Assembly, of which I am a Member, held hearings on 24-hour licensing. Members of the Association of London Government, among others, presented evidence to an all-party delegation. There was concern that there would be insufficient police resources to cope with any anticipated increase in disturbances, resulting from the proposed reforms. That was expressed in terms of the volume of policing needed at one location and the spread of that resource throughout the night. That is a concern, I suspect, shared around the country. It was thought that that would require the police authority to re-think its policing priorities and objectives to ensure that additional policing was available. That would mean police resources diverted from other functions.

Later on in the inquiry the deputy assistant commissioner responsible for the Westminster area presented evidence. He highlighted again the point that if there is a rise in the number of licensed premises, there will be a commensurate rise in disorder which will skew resources to deal with that. If there is a plan to say that this is going to be a place, as he said, that has a huge number of licensed premises, then we need to think how we will fund public services to cope with that. If someone comes in to make a legitimate profit, how do we fund the policing that might be needed?

Officers may be taken away from a housing estate where they are sorely needed in order to go to police late-night drunks. He cited a number of examples where holders of licensed premises voluntarily make a contribution to policing costs. The problem is that that is a voluntary requirement. It is not something that the

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irresponsible licence holders will necessarily do; nor is there necessarily any agreement about the level of contributions.

For those who may think that this issue applies only to central London, I was particularly taken by representations received from my honourable friend the Member of Parliament for Hornchurch about the problems faced in Havering. The borough does not have a high level of policing resources and, by and large, does not need them. With the number of licensed club premises in Romford Town—I use this as an example—the vision that he conjured up was of large numbers of highly excited young Essex girls and boys congregating in Romford town centre in the early hours of the morning. This clearly presents issues which require a considerable policing input into a borough which, by and large, does not have a very large policing resource.

Where exceptional policing costs are likely to be incurred through a licence application there should be some arrangement whereby, as a condition of such a licence, the police authority receives a contribution towards those costs. I beg to move.

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