View Full Version : Midnight curfew abolished

08-Nov-12, 09:23
Licensing restriction lifted after chair's casting vote

MEMBERS of The Highland Licensing Board have voted to abolish the door entry policy for premises with late night opening hours, which requires admission by midnight, with the change set to take effect after the board’s next scheduled meeting on 18 December, this year.
Convener Councillor Maxine Smith used her casting vote in favour of change after a 5-5 vote following a hearing involving a number of presentations from invited parties from each of the “for/against” sides of the argument to retain or remove the door entry policy.
Premises affected by the policy have it as a specific condition of their licence that entry be by midnight. The Board will require to review each affected premises to specifically remove this condition.
The Board have called a special meeting for Tuesday 20 November at 10.30am and thereafter will meet on Tuesday 18 December as a Board to ratify this. This will affect the 11 premises throughout the Highlands governed by the “curfew” policy (7 in Inverness, 2 in Aviemore and 2 in Thurso).
Councillor Smith said: “I am pleased that we have considered all sides of the argument with regard to retaining the “curfew” policy. After doing this and taking everything into account, it was my view that the door entry policy did not unequivocally work towards achieving the Licensing Objectives.
“Although those “for” its retention may argue differently, the evidence they presented to the Board was not overwhelming. Also due to other actions put into place since the policy was adopted, such as having all stewards SIA trained; improved communications protocols, CCTV and the increased police officers on the beat introduced by the Scottish Government, it could not be concluded that the door entry policy alone, is responsible for a decrease in crime statistics.”
Councillor Smith added: “There is a massive strength of feeling among those wishing to have the freedom to access clubs at any time before closing; this includes patrons and visitors alike. There is a danger of portraying the Highlands as a “no go” area, when the Highlands is the safest region in Scotland.
“Taking into account all of the above the Board decided to abolish the policy in the Highlands and sincerely urges all night clubs to respect this decision.
“The Board is open to working with the licensed trade on other policy reviews over the coming months and we will move this forward in a spirit of co-operation and mutual understanding.”
Presentations were made to the Board from those in favour of retaining the Policy: Northern Constabulary, NHS Highland and from those against the Policy: the Banish the Inverness Curfew Campaign, the SLTA and one trade representative for each side.