Published: 20 March 2017
Q: I operate a city centre nightclub and we had an incident last week involving a fight between a large group of customers. The Police have visited me since the incident and explained that they do not feel that the door staff had sufficient control of the situation. The incident happened on a Thursday evening, which is generally one of our quieter evenings during the summer but can become busier during the winter months. We had 4 members of door staff on duty at the time of the incident, in compliance with the condition on the premises which required 4 door staff on a Thursday and 8 on a Friday and Saturday night. The Police want this increased to 8 door staff on Thursday to Saturday and the Sunday before a bank holiday. This will result in a significant increase in costs for what was a one-off serious incident. Can the Police force me to employ more door staff?
A: If the Police have concerns regarding crime and disorder, they can request measures they feel would be appropriate to prevent further incidents. Asking you to do this on a voluntary basis allows you to negotiate, to an extent, the terms of any conditions you agree. If you refuse to cooperate with the Police at all they could review your premises licence and ask a Licensing Sub-Committee to impose the conditions they have requested.
It would be a good idea to speak to the Police to make some suggestions regarding how the door staff condition could be amended. If you wish to avoid operating to a specific number on a Thursday in the quieter summer months you could suggest to the Police that there will be a minimum of 4 door staff with a requirement for you to risk assess the requirement to employ additional door staff. The same applies for the Sunday before Bank Holiday if this is something you have never had as a condition before. Many Police officers will request at least 1 member of door staff for every 100 customers and you could look to incorporate something similar into any agreed conditions if you feel that would allow greater flexibility.
Negotiation and partnership working is important to try to achieve conditions which are agreeable to all involved
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