Police Closures Power to close Licensing premises
Power to close premises within a particular area
Local Magistrates are empowered to make an order requiring all premises within a specific area, which is experiencing disorder or where disorder is anticipated, to close until such time as they are satisfied that it is no longer necessary to prevent disorder.
The application for the order must come from a police officer of the rank of Superintendent or above. A police constable will serve the order on the premises in question and may use necessary force to ensure that the premises are closed.
The period of the order is up to 24 hours and the burden of proof will be on the police on the balance of probabilities to demonstrate that it is necessary. They should balance their awareness of the loss of business which it will cause against the necessity for the order and if possible should seek a voluntary agreement with operators in the area prior to using this power.
Any of the following people will be guilty of an offence if they knowingly allow the premises to remain open when such an order is in force:
- 1. Any manager of the premises;
- 2. The holder of the Premises Licence;
- 3. The Designated Premises Supervisor;
- 4. The premises user under a temporary event notice.
The power does not apply to premises with the benefit of a Club Premises Certificate.
Power to close identified premisesA police officer of the rank of Inspector or above may order closure of premises if he believes that there is, or will imminently be, disorder at the premises. It is also possible to make such an order if he believes that nuisance is being caused by noise from the premises. A senior officer may be remote to the scene although it is good practice for him to be in attendance if possible. A police constable may therefore serve the actual order which will be by way of the written order itself but should also confirm its content verbally, including details of the premises, the duration of the order and the grounds for the order.
There must be a causal connection between the disorder or anticipated disorder and the premises themselves. The police should consider the conduct of the management of the venue in deciding whether to use the order or to seek voluntary compliance. The adverse effects on business and the fact that such an order, once extended by the Magistrates' Court, can lead to a review of the licence should also be considered.
The order will initially be for a period not exceeding 24 hours but may be extended for further periods of 24 hours only if a Magistrates' Court has not been able to hear the matter in the meantime and if the original grounds for closure continue to exist.
It is an offence for anyone to allow premises to remain open in the face of a closure order.
A Magistrates' Court must hear the closure order as soon as possible following its issue and may revoke the order or require premises to remain closed subject to any conditions which they see fit to attach to the order.
It is also an offence to allow premises to remain open in the face of a Magistrates' Court closure order.
Following the making of a closure order a Magistrates' Court must inform the Local Authority's licensing committee who must in turn review the licence. Such orders may not be made in respect of premises with the benefit of a Club Premises Certificate.
There is a further power under the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 for the police to close premises where the production, supply or use of Class A drugs is taking place at premises and there is serious nuisance or disorder.
In addition, some forces can close premises under the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 - this relates to closures for the "unauthorised sale of alcohol". A Closure Notice must first be served requiring the breach of the Premises Licence to be remedied. If this is not done then the Police can apply to the Magistrates' Court for a Closure Order.
New powers will be available to Local Authorities and to the Police to designate alcohol disorder zones as a last resort to tackle alcohol related crime and disorder. The earliest date for commencement for ADZs is Spring 2008.
If you get any of the above activity at your premises contact us without delay. We have various solicitors available out of hours so telephone 0115 958 3500 or 03337 007 999