IN July 2016, Essex Police applied to Thurrock Council (in its capacity as licensing authority) for a review of the premise licence held by The Lounge Bar (Chafford Hundred, Grays) to serve alcohol and provide related amenities.
The application was sought following an incident of serious violent disorder at the premise on 22nd May this year where three males suffered significant cuts and other wounds during an attack. Prior to this incident, Essex Police had been liaising with the premise’s management concerning breaches of licensing conditions, seeking to work with its management to ensure it was properly run.
At a public hearing held on the 1st September 2016, the Licensing Sub-Committee of Thurrock Council upheld the police application and its members agreed to revoke the premises licence.
Mrs Joanne Nash County Licensing Officer said “One of the key objectives of Essex Police is to reduce violence, particularly that occurring within the night time economy. Essex Police will continue to take positive action regarding any licensed premise which, by poor management, contributes to violent crime, whilst supporting those premises that work with us to prevent crime. This is to protect our communities and ensure those persons who wish to enjoy their leisure time can do so safely. It is gratifying that the sub-committee recognised the seriousness of the matters brought to its attention and acted decisively to uphold the principle objectives of the Licensing Act 2003”.
The Licensing Act 2003 has 4 principle objectives: the prevention of crime and disorder, public safety, the prevention of public nuisance and the protection of children from harm. A licensed premise is expected to support these objectives in how it carries out its activities.
Under the Licensing Act 2003, responsibility for the licensing of the sale of alcohol falls to the local authority of each area who have each established a Licensing Committee of between 10 & 15 members, 3 or more of which convene licensing sub-committees to hold hearing relating to applications for licences and applications to review such licences.
The premise’s operators have 21 days to appeal the decision to a magistrates’ court and can continue to trade until the expiry of that period (if no appeal made) or until the outcome of an appeal if one is made.
The incident of the 22nd May has previously been reported upon in the press; the incident took place shortly after 01.45 a.m. Following the incident an extensive police search was launched and scene guards put in place. The investigating officer was Detective Inspector Alison Hooper.
If members of the public have any information about criminal activity at licensed premises they can contact the police on 101 or alternatively they can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 or www.crimestoppers-uk.org.