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Sunday, 13 December 2015

Policing pubs

Reported in almost comical terms is the tale of a pub, Cooney's Bar in Llandudno, where the theme tune to Peppa Pig was played when some police officers visited the premises last October. The DJ also made snorting noises. It was apparently the last straw after in a series of incidents going back to April 2014; the police then decided to refer the pub to the licensing committee.

Given in evidence was the fact that one officer who dealt with a former door supervisor was not happy about going to the bar on his own, and the licensing committee was asked: "If an officer is not happy to visit then how do members of the public feel?"

Reading this last point reminded of a story my grandmother once told me. She used to work in pubs and ended up acting as her son's (and my uncle's) relief manager on his days off. In earlier days, she had worked at the Cherry Tree in Kirkby, near Liverpool, when it was notorious for trouble. At weekends, fights often broke out and the police would be called. She said they'd wait outside until it all went quiet, and then they'd go in and make a couple of arrests. She understandably described them in unflattering terms, unimpressed that they preferred to leave the fights for a couple of barmaids to deal with.

Violence in pubs is no joke, and I have very rarely seen it during my 40+ years of pub-going. Licensees are responsible for enforcing much of the law relating to licensing hours, smoking, drug misuse, noise levels, excessive drinking and customer behaviour. If they fall down in any of these areas, they could lose their licence or have punitive conditions imposed. In return for upholding the law in so many areas that aren't necessarily directly linked to their core business, licensees can reasonably expect support on the odd occasion they may need the police. I say "odd occasion" because I can't recall a single instance of the police being called out to a pub when I was there.

Cooney's, incidentally, kept its licence but with extra conditions imposed. If you're interested, you can read the full story in Wales Online.

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