Select Committee on Deregulation and Regulatory Reform First Report

Appendix 8

Letter from the Clerk of the Deregulation and Regulatory Reform Committee to the Police Federation of England and Wales and the Association of Chief Police Officers (Liquor Licensing Sub Committee) (dated 19 July 2001)

Proposal for the Regulatory Reform (Special Occasions Licencing) Order 2001

I understand that you have previously responded to the Government's consultation on the above Regulatory Reform proposal, which is intended to relax licencing hours on New Years' Eve this year.

The proposal was laid before Parliament on 28 June. It now falls to the relevant Parliamentary committees to examine it. The House of Commons Deregulation and Regulatory Reform Committee considered the proposal for the first time at its meeting last Tuesday.

One of the matters which the Committee is required to examine is whether the proposal continues any necessary protection. The explanatory statement which the Government Department concerned (now the Department for Culture, Media and Sport) is required to lay alongside the proposal cites section 17 of the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001, which will come into force in October 2001, as one of the ways in which necessary protection can be maintained. This section will provide the police with new powers to instantly close down disorderly or excessively noisy licensed premises where that is necessary in the interests of public safety or to prevent further disturbance to the public.

However, the Committee is sceptical about the practicability of closing down rowdy premises on New Year's Eve. It would be very helpful if you were able to respond to this concern with your opinion of the value of this new provision in maintaining necessary protection for local residents against disturbance caused by licensed premises on New Year's Eve.

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Prepared 8 November 2001