Memorandum submitted by City of
1. This report concerns the change in the night-time economy of the City relating specifically to an increased level of activity in the pubs, bars and clubs late into the evening and, most noticeably, at weekends. Problems are being caused, primarily, by private promoted events frequented, in the main, by people who neither work nor live in the City and who have no other connection with the area. Specific complaints have been received from residents and businesses about increased anti-social behaviour and disorder including excessive noise through the night, with events finishing after 4am; illegal parking and noisy departure from events; litter, including huge numbers of promotional flyers, bottles and cans; and urination and vomit.
2. In addition there has been an increase in serious and violent assaults and, in recent months, there have been two murders in licensed premises in the City.
3. This new night-time economy has not affected the essence of the City; it remains a safe place in which to live, work and to visit but it has had a detrimental impact on some residents and businesses who have experienced considerable distress as a result of the antisocial behaviour associated with the increased social activity. It has also changed the way in which the area is policed late into the evening and at weekends and had an impact on some of the local authority services and the resources of both.
4. Your Committee has completed an examination of the issues and Members have already had the opportunity to consider this matter informally. The results of this work are presented here as well as a schedule of the actions taken and planned as a result and the anticipated outcomes of those actions, attached at Appendix A.
5. Over the last 18 months the City's night-time economy has seen a significant change: a number of licensed premises are no longer closing at the traditional hours but staying open later often until the early morning and at weekends. A particular problem would seem to be the extended hours now afforded to a number of premises which has attracted profitable promoted events where large numbers of people attend at the weekend until the early hours of the morning (beyond 4 am). Individual clubs can attract as many as 1,200 people on a weekend evening and as many as 10,000 people can be partying in the City at any one time.
6. Anecdotal evidence has shown that those attending are neither City residents nor workers but come to the City specifically to attend these events. There have been problems in the dispersal of these large crowds of people and there have been complaints from local residents of antisocial behaviour mainly around noise throughout the night, illegal parking and excessive litter.
7. The negative aspects of the night-time economy are being increasingly highlighted as an area of significant concern in the Square Mile, both by residents and businesses. At the residents' meetings held at Guildhall on 16 January 2008, residents spoke with passion about how the quality of their lives was being detrimentally affected and the impact of the night-time economy, including anti-social behaviour and issues around licensing, were the dominating features at those events. These views were echoed at the Business Ratepayers' Consultation meeting on 11 February 2008. Businesses are also concerned, particularly when faced with the 'aftermath' of the night before, including damage to premises or the unsavoury consequences of excess such as vomit or urination in doorways.
8. There are two distinct areas where crimes in the City are on the increase, namely Wounding and Common Assault. Much of this can be attributed to the changes in the night-time economy. Stretch targets for these crimes in the City's current Local Area Agreement (LAA) 2007/08 are not being met: current statistics at 31 December 2007 show 284 crimes against a target of 202 for Wounding and 170 actual crimes against a target of 244 for Common Assault. The 2008/09 LAA is currently being developed and stretch targets are being considered in the following areas: 'perceptions of drunk or rowdy behaviour as a problem' in direct response to the concerns expressed around the night-time economy.
9. There is clearly a strong desire on the part of our constituents for something to be done to alleviate this worsening situation and they are looking to the City Corporation and the City Police to take a lead. This is not something that can be resolved by a single agency, and the only way to achieve an effective solution is through a partnership approach with relevant organisations, including the licensed premises themselves, working together. Set out below are a number of areas that we explored as part of this process.
10. The City of
11. In carrying out their licensing functions, all licensing authorities are required to promote the four licensing objectives set out in the 2003 Act, as follows: the prevention of crime and disorder; public safety; the prevention of public nuisance; and the protection of children from harm.
12. Broadly speaking, the application process under the new regime is as follows:
· applications for a premises licence or for the amendment thereof are subject to public notice;
· during the period of the notice (20 working days), representations are admissible from responsible authorities (Police, Fire Authority, DES (Environmental Health and Trading Standards), Planning & Transportation and Community & Children's Services), individuals and businesses living or working in the vicinity of the premises;
· if no representations are received, the application has to be granted;
· if representations are received, the application is determined by the Licensing Sub Committee at a public hearing at which all interested parties are given the opportunity to express their views;
· at the hearing, the Licensing Sub Committee has the following options:
° 3/4 to grant the application; or
° to grant the application subject to the imposition of conditions; or
° 3/4 to dismiss the application.
the applicant and the objectors have 28 days in which to appeal the decision of
the Licensing Sub Committee to the
13. It is worth emphasising that under the new licensing regime:
· the initiative lies with the responsible authorities and other interested parties to be aware and to make representations at the appropriate time otherwise the presumption is that applications will be granted; and,
· the licence relates to a premises, not to an individual.
14. Prior to the introduction of the new legislation in 2005, there were 11 premises with a public entertainment licence operating beyond 2 am. There are now 64 licensed premises with a licence to operate beyond 2 am. and there are now approximately 20 premises in the City who operate to the late hours on a regular basis.
15. Although licenses are now granted to premises, every licensed property, if alcohol is sold on it, must have a designated premises supervisor. This individual must be a personal license holder and personal licenses are granted by the local authority in which the personal licence holder resides. Promoters of large events are permitted to 'hire' licensed premises for this purpose and can operate their promoted event in accordance with the relevant license. It is perfectly lawful for a person who operates their business outside the City to hire suitably licensed premises within the Square Mile for a large promoted event and to market that event to people who may have no connection with the City whatsoever.
16. Whilst the licence is without term, it is open to the responsible authorities and individuals and businesses living or working in the vicinity of the premises to apply for the licence to be reviewed based on evidence that difficulties, public nuisance, crime and disorder etc. have been experienced. Again, the review is determined by the Licensing Sub Committee at a public hearing and the following options are available to the Sub Committee:
· to leave the licence unchanged; or
· to introduce new conditions on the licence; or
· to amend existing conditions on the licence; or
· to suspend the licence.
17. A prime requirement of the Act is every three years each authority produce a "Statement of Licensing Policy". For the City, the reviewed policy was published on 7 January 2008 after approval by your honourable Court in December 2007. The newly reviewed policy has a number of new provisions, including taking into consideration concerns relating to persons leaving Licensed Premises to smoke, the control of "promoted events" by means of a comprehensive risk assessment and the consideration of adopting a special policy relating to the cumulative impact of premises in particular areas of the City. The risk assessment gives the police advance information about the organisers of the events. At appropriate premises, the risk assessments are required under a voluntary memorandum of understanding or if necessary imposed as a licence condition at a public hearing.
18. Whilst the Statutory Guidance on licensing from the government cautions against having "zones" for licensed premises it does accept that in certain circumstances a policy of presumption of no new licences (where they are opposed) could be effective in a defined area. Should such a situation arise in future in the City in a particular area the Licensing Committee would consider defining an area.
19. Consideration is also being given to the feasibility and legality of introducing a set of criteria for licensed premises to govern the way in which promoted events and other such uses are managed on a City-wide basis.
20. The Chief Officers' Group agreed the terms of reference for an officer group, chaired by Assistant Town Clerk, Simon Murrells, together with representatives of the Commissioner of the City Police, the City Planning Officer, the Director of Environmental Services, the Director of Community and Children's Services, the Principal Security and Contingency Planning Advisor, the Managing Director of the Barbican Centre and the Comptroller and City Solicitor. The Group has considered the various aspects and its findings can be summarised as follows.
Antisocial Behaviour relating to the Changes in the Night-time Economy
21. It must be emphasised that the new social activity in the City is welcomed; part of London's status as a world class City is its importance as somewhere to socialise and the City is very much part of that. It clearly complies with the vibrant and culturally diverse strand of the community strategy. Most of the licensees and patrons are well behaved and seek to work with the City Police and the City Corporation in ensuring that any negative impact is minimised.
22. What is apparent is that there are now
more events taking place well into the early hours of the morning in the City
and that they are frequented by neither City resident nor City worker. They are
instead young people from other parts of
23. The result is that large groups of people park in the relatively quiet main streets where parking is often permitted and, at the end of the evening, they are dispersing, often noisily, into the nearby streets. Incidents of anti-social behaviour and disturbance have been recorded.
24. The City of London Police have advised that, in certain areas of the City, namely the Minories, Watling Street, Smithfield Market and Shoe Lane, where there are a number of premises with late licences, there are often large numbers of people dispersing onto the streets at closing time (on occasion, as many as 2,000) and lots of cars parked along adjacent roads, sometimes illegally. Much of the problem relates to the slow dispersal of these large groups. With an apparent lack of adequate public transport at this time in the City, many people use private cars and others rely on minicabs to get home. In addition the large numbers of police resources that are needed to supervise dispersal have not previously been available at the weekends.
What other areas have done
25. The new legislation has affected all
areas and the City of
26. Representatives from the Town Clerk's
Department, Environmental Services (Licensing) and the City of
27. One of the obvious arrangements
28. Most licensed premises are situated within a relatively small but central area of the City, which Birmingham City Council has managed to develop as a Business Improvement District. This allows the Council to dedicate specific resources to deal with the issues arising from increased late-night drinking. Some areas have also been designated Alcohol Restricted Areas, a measure the Council maintains has enhanced police powers to deal with offenders.
29. It was interesting to note that
30. Westminster City Council together with the Metropolitan Police appear to be taking a tough line when it comes to promoted events and there is some anecdotal evidence to suggest that that the City of London is suffering from a degree of displacement in terms of its being a venue. The City, through initiatives such as risk assessments for promoted events, are now acting in tandem with colleagues in Westminster and the City Police are now accessing information supplied by the Metropolitan Police Clubs and Vice Unit. We need to continue to work more closely with partners such as Westminster and other surrounding boroughs on a regular basis to ensure that we are 'joined-up' in our approach and also to see what we can learn from them in this area.
The Way Forward
31. One of the key areas of work reviewed was the licensing arrangements specifically relating to the application process, the procedure for objecting to licenses, engagement with the community and the approach to the review process. Overall, efforts will be focussed over the next twelve months on the night-time economy and once standards have been set and protocols in place, we anticipate a significant decrease in promoted events and a minimum amount of crime and public disorder. A summary of measures now being taken is included here.
32. Those involved in the licensing of
premises (Police and Local Authority) on a regular basis are to be co-located
33. The formation of a multi-agency Tactical Licensing Group led by the City Licensing officers involving all partners including the City Police who meet on a fortnightly basis. The role of this Group is to consider how best to prevent and reduce crime and other alcohol related anti-social behaviour linked with licensed premises.
34. All partners agree that the time has come to take a more focussed approach; this will include agreeing triggers for identifying problem premises and developing tactics for engagement and enforcement, including the development of options ranging from low-level to high-level intervention. The City Police have appointed an Inspector to lead in this area and consider reviews and identify evidential requirements of the process and a covert team has also been established to gather evidence. The City Police will be supported in this by a dedicated lawyer in the Comptroller and City Solicitor's Department.
35. Improving protocols for sharing information and intelligence to involve closer working between the Licensing Authority, Fire Authority, Safer City Partnership and neighbouring Metropolitan Police boroughs to assist the enforcement role and flag concerns to the police earlier.
36. Serious consideration is being given to the deployment of police resources particularly in relation to high-risk promoted events where large groups of people (sometimes in more than one location) emerge onto City streets at 4am. This has brought new challenges and is a fundamental element of the review: looking at shift patterns, particularly late at night and at weekends to provide more police cover and a greater police presence on the street where appropriate. Changes have already been made of the shift patterns of the Support Group, Dog Unit and Tactical Firearms Group to maximise the availability and visibility or the specialist resources, especially at weekends. Consideration will also be given to the style of policing, identifying what works to keep people calm and reduce violent disorder. It is important that people attending promoted events, see a high visible police presence. This then sets the scene before they enter the venue. When they leave the venue, it is important that the police adopt a 'softer' approach to dispersing people away. Officers deployed singularly, in sight of each other, engaging with people in a friendly way as they leave, directing them away, has works well. For other medium and low risk events consideration has also been given to deployment of police resources and a new policing plan is in place.
37. A review of record systems and software used by the by the Licensing Office is planned to ensure that the most effective support is in place.
38. A new Safer City Partnership Plan has been developed in consultation with all partners. Minimising the negative impact of the night-time economy has been identified as one of six priority areas for action for the next three years. In particular, the Partnership Support Team is linking up with surrounding boroughs to find common ground in terms of emerging problems and joint initiatives.
39. The Taxi Marshalling Scheme has run for
nearly two years and now operates from
40. The production of an Alcohol Strategy is a statutory requirement and has been produced with input from the Police, Licensing, Drug Action Team, to cover Health, Crime, Licensing, Trade and Workplace. The overall aim is to coordinate partnership activity to minimise negative impact of alcohol misuse; document and consolidate what is already being done in this area and develop a meaningful action plan for future activity. The strategy has been developed in six areas: Health Treatment, Health Education, Community Safety, Licensing, Workplace, Children and Young People.
41. Greater engagement with the licensing community through initiatives such as Safety Thirst, a voluntary scheme open to all licensed premises in the City. Achievement of accreditation under the scheme indicates that the premises have been judged to provide a high standard to the safety of their customers. As the scheme is voluntary there are no legally enforceable sanctions open to the scheme owners, other than to not award accreditation although if anything that is illegal is discovered there are powers to enforce the law. This scheme is jointly run by City Corporation, City Police and London Fire Brigade as partners of the Safer City Partnership.
42. The London Drug Policy Forum is now
working on updating its Safer Clubbing, leaflet alongside colleagues
including those from Guy's and St Thomas Poison Unit, the Metropolitan Police's
Clubs and Vice Unit, plus representatives from the British Entertainment and
Discotheque Association. The leaflet will provide clear advice to local
authorities, police officers, club owners, door staff and drug workers on the
role they should play to keep customers, employees and
43. The Director of Environmental Services is
considering the deployment of inspectors to cover the City streets during the
evening and early morning to advise, inform and enforce the street environment
and the night time economy. These would be completely new roles and would,
therefore, have to be new posts with additional funding for an initial trial
period. It is envisaged that these officers will have a basic knowledge of
legislation relating to licensing, noise, smoking, highway obstruction and
maintenance and cleansing provisions etc, and will be the City Corporation's
first point of contact for Businesses, Workers and Residents. The proposal
would also interface with the City of
44. The City of
45. Recently, action has been taken by the owners (in this case the freeholder) of licensed premises in the City to curtail late night activities by virtue of the terms the lease. This is an area that is worthy of exploring further with freeholders or head lessees etc., some of whom may have no idea that their premises are being used for these large events or the negative impact that they can have on the City.
46. The Comptroller and City Solicitor has advised that urinating in public is not an offence in the City and is actively considering what action could be taken for the introduction of bye-laws to cover this. In addition, consideration is being given by the Port Health and Environmental Services Committee to the possible introduction of 'urilifts' in the City which are street based urinals that can be raised and lowered by authorised personnel when needed, such as late evening.
47. The change in licensing hours has put additional strain on the City's street cleansing service especially during the nights of Thursday, Friday and Saturday when there is a high volume of people using the many pubs and clubs that trade into the early hours. This causes additional littering, including smoking related and advertising flyers, in the areas close to the licensed premise and in the streets by the main transport links. The night time economy has also resulted in an increase in anti-social behaviour with additional cleansing being required to deal with the frequent reports of urination and vomit.
The Effect of the Smoking Ban - Street Drinking
48. The Health Act 2006 and associated regulations required that from 1st July 2007 all enclosed and substantially enclosed public and work places become smoke free. The Director of Environmental Services is responsible for the enforcement of the new regulations and his officers work closely with other City Corporation departments (Planning and Transportation, City Surveyor's) and the City Police to ensure a joined up partnership approach to the issue. A dedicated Smoke Free Compliance Officer was employed on a temporary basis (until March 2008, funded by the Department of Health) to deal with specific problems. After March, the compliance of the regulations will pass to the existing Environmental Health Officers in addition to their other duties. On the whole it is anticipated that this will not be too onerous since generally in the City the state of compliance has been good.
49. A programme of proactive inspections was initiated and a total of 459 premises were inspected including pubs, bars, restaurants and hotels. One was given a written warning for allowing smoking in a substantially enclosed area.
50. The City Corporation licences over 750 premises for alcohol consumption and late night refreshment and the majority of those premises have a licence which allows the sale of liquor for consumption on and off the premises legally permitting the consumption of the drinks outside their premises. It is now common for customers to congregate outside premises in good weather and, since the smoking ban, bad weather to consume drinks and to smoke.
51. This new al-fresco socialising throughout the year has caused concern amongst residents, businesses and to pedestrians due to noise, smoke and smoking associated litter and of course the obstruction of the highway and the free passage of individuals. Generally the incidence of street drinking within the City is good natured and does not give any real cause for concern. There have been a few problematic cases and when advice on crowd control is given the matter is usually resolved. Leadenhall Market, for example, has had continued problems with patrons from the public houses continuing to smoke within the market and a working party has been set up to deal with the ongoing problems there.
result of the smoking restrictions across
53. The Street Cleansing and Waste team have indicated an increase on their workload due to the amount of cigarette associated litter. Some work with licence holders has already begun to put the onus on them to keep the outside of their premises clean and to ensure that their clientele do not cause a problem to others.
Alcohol Controlled Zone
recent initiative relates to the
the contents of this report, the City of
56. This may involve for example targeted crackdowns on particular areas, it will certainly involve working closely with licensees to ensure they run their premises appropriately and keeping a closer eye on those that fail to do so. In addition a better understanding of the licensing framework is underway to ensure that effective and appropriate representations are made.
Review of Night-time Economy Action Plan
COLP: City of
COLC: City of London Corporation C&CS: Comptroller and City Solicitor CS: City Surveyor
DES: Department of Environmental Services SCP: Safer City Partnership
TCO: Town Clerk's Office