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Pub boss speaks out after licence reviews
3:20pm Wednesday 10th October 2012 in News
A PUB boss say a police “crusade” against licencees has resulted in a reluctance to report any concerns for fear of being shut down.
Stephen Barham, who runs Bar Lambs, part of the Lamb & Lion pub, in Station Road, Westcliff, spoke out following a string of licence reviews in the town.
It comes after Mayhem, in Warrior Square, was raided by more than a hundred police officers on Friday, September 21.
Officers said this was based on intelligence about drug dealing on the premises, and they have now called for a review on the club’s licence.
After the raid, the club’s owner Richard Shea said they had worked closely with police, who previously brought in an ION Track machine to swab clubbers hands for signs of drugs on entry.
Nevertheless, he said police hadn’t informed him about any drug problem.
Mr Barham said an over-zealous response to problems in pubs and clubs had left landlords wary about telling the police about any worries they might have.
He said: “Licensees have a genuine desire to promote a safe and sociable environment both on their premises and in the surrounding area.
“This would best be achieved in partnership with the police and local resident organisations but, as it stands, licensees are reluctant to inform the police of any concerns they have in fear of the consequences.”
The licence at Bar Lambs was revoked after a review was called by police last year. But in September, Mr Barham managed to get the licence back after agreeing to a string of conditions.
His solicitor, David Dadds, who is also representing the Old Hat, in Alexandra Street, Southend, in its upcoming licence review, is advising his clients not to let police swab their premises for drugs without seeking legal advice first.
Southend Inspector Matt Bennett said: He added: “The Essex Police approach to licensing enforcement is indeed to work closely with licensees and at Southend we champion this approach.
“It is never our objective to force a premises into closure, however it is our obligation to ensure all licensed premises are managed correctly, thereby ensuring the safety of the customers who frequent that establishment and the community as a whole. “
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