Monday 4 March 2024
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Nottingham

The Nottingham police licensing team keeping venues safe and preventing crime and disorder

Nottinghamshire Police’s licensing team are responsible for around 1,800 premises in the city centre and surrounding area.

From pubs and nightclubs to restaurants, takeaways and off-licences, the team are available to ensure the public are kept safe.

Temporary Senior Licensing Enforcement Officer, John Bolton, has seen it from both sides.

As a former pub owner, two in Nottingham, he joined Nottinghamshire Police in 2009 as a Police Community Support Officer.

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He has been part of the licensing team for more than five years, and says his role is not to “beat venues with a stick” but ensure they are compliant.

He said: “Some venues have 5,000 people going through the doors in one night and they are going to have the odd incident, but it is how they manage it. It is what they are doing about it.

“There is no venue in the city that are not reporting incidents to us because if they do not tell us and we find out, we will be paying them a visit to ask them why and it could prompt a review of their licence.

“Closing venues down is a last resort but it has happened. We are here to prevent crime and disorder, protecting children from harm, preventing noise and nuisance, and providing public safety.”

Every morning the team goes through all the incidents from the night before that have occurred in venues or around venues.

They will look for reoccurring incidents. This could include reports of groping, glasses being used as weapons and incidents relating to public safety.

Police officers are responsible for investigating crime, but the licensing team is in place to ensure venues are putting in strong measures to prevent repeat incidents. This can include more CCTV and staff wearing body-worn cameras.

Most recently, the Horse and Groom in Radford Road had its licence revoked after a serious incident involving weapons.

Three people were injured. Alcohol was also being sold after closing time and there were not enough door staff at large events to deal with the demand.

Inspector Paul Whitehead, who runs the licensing team, said: “We don’t just stop there – once a pub is closed, punters will move somewhere else, and we don’t want another pub to be hit with the same problem. Thankfully, this has not happened after this venue was closed.

“We rarely have problematic venues. From our point of view, it shows what we are doing behind the scenes is working. It is the relationship we build up with these venues.

“But if they do something wrong, and it could have been prevented, we will come down like a ton of bricks if we need to.”

Police are currently working with some venues to replace pint glasses with plastic. This is to ensure safety in the venues and if significant incidents occur with glasses, then licences are reviewed.

An operation is also underway to ensure public safety is at the forefront of everyone who works at the venues, including door staff.

The team are also working with fast-food outlets to ensure door staff invest in body-worn cameras as some of the problems spill out into takeaways and taxi ranks after the clubs and bars have closed.

Safety for women is also a priority and the team ensure each venue has welfare procedures in place.

Chief Inspector Amy English, who covers the city centre, said: “Nottingham has a bustling night-time economy, and it is great that so many people want to come in and enjoy what we have on offer.

“Our licensing team visit and engage with these venues day in, day out, to ensure that everything is in place to protect the public from harm.

“Our licensing team is one of the many cogs to improve the safety of our night-time economy.

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“They are almost never seen by the public but do a fantastic job to ensure that any problems that do arise are dealt with immediately and the public can just concentrate on having a great night out.”

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