Select Committee on Delegated Powers and Deregulation Ninth Report



Letter from Association of Chief Police Officers of England, Wales and Northern Ireland

Thank you for the copy of the consultation document, the 'Proposed changes to the law on Sunday observance relating to music and dancing, and to the law on liquor licensing on Sundays', which I received in May 1999.

I have gathered the views of the ACPO Liquor Licensing Sub-Committee in relation to that document, and would offer the following comments.

The proposed changes to laws on Sunday licensing has been expected for some time, as a natural progression of ongoing reform of Liquor Licensing legislation. The details contained within this document were first muted some three years ago, when the consultation process began. As a result, those proposals are now largely supported by the police service, with only a few points for further emphasis and consideration.

Firstly, the need for safeguards to protect residents was strongly highlighted. While the proposals provide some reactive facility to address problem areas, a means responding instantly by way of closure is suggested (open to an appeal process for the licensee as a consequence of such action). There is also a need for a proactive response to the potential for community problems. To that end it is recommended that extended hours should not be an automatic right, but subject to assessment of a locality on the basis of the effects of noise, nuisance and disorder. To that end, every premise should be considered independently for suitability.

Secondly, the impact on policing cannot be underestimated, Under the heading of 'Cost savings and Financial Benefits' there is no recognition of the actual cost effects on police forces. With resources already stretched, this added element of policing cannot go unnoticed, and will have definite implications for general risk management strategies of Chief constables. The actual cost is difficult to estimate, but the effects will permeate the only remaining period when policing retains an element of flexibility, due largely to the quieter nature of a traditional Sunday.

The only additional comments forthcoming were that there should be a relaxation of permitted hours for Registered Clubs and Casinos, since these establishments are largely self-policing and cause few problems socially. Also there was support for charging for entertainment on a Sunday, in line with other days of the week.

I trust these comments will prove useful to the debate.

Inspector Joanne Floyd, Secretary
15 June 1999

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