Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill

Memorandum submitted by Andrew Cochrane (PR 90)

Introduction:

 We have a general concern over the powers which will be awarded to local authorities to deal with problems in their areas. There is already a nationwide disparity with the way licensed premises are dealt with. The introduction of measures such as making licensing authorities responsible authorities, Early Morning Restriction Orders and the late night levy raise the possibility of some areas being treated less advantageously than others.

 Applications to give greater consideration to local area:

 This will cause applicants to incur considerable extra costs- e.g. expert reports detailing ‘social-demographic characteristics’ may become the norm. It will also raise arguments as to where information is to be obtained from. The requirement makes it more difficult for the lay person to make their own application; councillors on the licensing committees are already familiar with the local area. The current system works well.

 Removal of Vicinity Test

 We anticipate this will lead to more hearings and longer hearings where representations are received in response to applications. It will mean an increase in the work for the local authority licensing team and will also make it more difficult and daunting for licensees or prospective licensees who wish to make an application in person.

January 2011