Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

Big plans, bright future

Licensing Sub Committee (ceased to operate 10/04/2017) Minutes

Date:
Tuesday, 10th April, 2012
Time:
10.00 a.m.
Place:
Council Chamber, Town Hall, High Street, Stockton on Tees, TS18 1AJ
 
Please note: all Minutes are subject to approval at the next Meeting

Attendance Details

Present:
Cllr Eileen Johnson, Cllr Paul Kirton and Cllr Miss Tina Large.
Officers:
J Nertney (LD); S Mills (DNS).
In Attendance:
Walter Cook and Elizabeth Cook. Walter Cook was represented by Mr Skelt of Counsel.
Cleveland Police: PC Iceton was in attendance and was represented by Mr Senior of Counsel.
Apologies for absence:
None.
Item Description Decision
Public
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APPOINTMENT OF CHAIR
RESOLVED that Councillor Kirton be appointed Chair for this meeting only.
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DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
There were no interests declared.
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THE GARRICK, 34 YARM LANE, STOCKTON ON TEES - APPLICATION FOR A REVIEW OF A PREMISE LICENCE UNDER THE LICENSING ACT 2003
RESOLVED that:-

• Confirm the removal of Walter Cook as the Designated Premises Supervisor and noted that Katy Hutchcraft had now been appointed as Designated Premises Supervisor;

• Reduce the hours at the premise so that the premise can open from 10:00 hours Monday to Sunday and that the terminal hour for supply of alcohol on a Saturday be reduced to 02:00 hours (with 30 minutes drinking up time); and

• Attach the following conditions to the licence:-

1. A digital closed circuit Television System (CCTV) must be installed and maintained in good working order and be correctly time and date stamped. The system must incorporate sufficient built in hard drive capacity to suit the number of cameras installed, whilst complying with Data Protection legislation. CCTV will be capable of providing pictures of evidential quality in all lighting conditions, particularly facial recognition. Cameras will encompass all ingress and egress to the premises, outside areas and all areas of the premises to which members of the public have access including areas where the sale/supply of alcohol occurs (note: this does not include the toilets). A minimum of 14 days recording is required. The system will record for 24 hours a day and the footage must be kept for a minimum of 31 days. The system must incorporate a means of transferring images from the hard drive to a format that can be played back on any desktop computer. The digital recorder must have the facility to be password protected to prevent unauthorised access, tampering, or deletion of images. There must be at all times a member of staff on duty who is trained in the use of the equipment and upon receipt of a request for footage from a governing body, such as Cleveland Police or any other responsible authority, be able to produce the footage within a reasonable time, e.g. 24 hours routine or less if urgently required for investigation of serious crime. In the event of technical failure of the CCTV equipment the premise licence holder/DPS must report the failure to Police
on contact number 01642 302360 immediately. (NOTE: this replaces condition 1 and 5 of Crime and Disorder)

2. Any drink supplied in the premise from opening to 23:00 hours shall be dispensed in a toughened glass. No drinks shall be served in any glassware after 23:00 hours. After 23:00 hours till closing any drink supplied in the premise shall be dispensed in a polycarbonate glass. By 23:30 hours the management must ensure that the entire customer/public area of the premise is cleared of all glassware.

3. From 12:00 hours (midday) till the end of the terminal hours for licensable activities a personal licence holder shall be on duty on the premise.

4. Four (4) SIA Licensed door staff will be employed at the premises from 20:00 hours until closing on a Friday and Saturday night. (NOTE: this replaces condition 3 of Crime and Disorder)

5. A drugs policy must be produced and maintained to the satisfaction of Cleveland Police and a drugs safe must be installed and maintained at the premise and the management and/or DPS must ensure that they contact Cleveland Police to arrange for it to be empted as and when required. The drugs policy should indicate when the safe will be emptied. (NOTE: this replaces condition 4 of Crime and Disorder).

6. A hard bound incident book with sequential page numbering shall be kept and maintained on the premises at all times. The book shall detail in brief, incident of injury / ejection / refusals / drug misuse & seizure / age challenge etc. Such matters shall be timed, dated and signed by the author and produced to Police and any other responsible authority including the licensing authority on request. (NOTE: this replaces condition 7 of Crime and Disorder).

7. On a weekly basis the Designated Premises Supervisor must review the incident book, sign and date to confirm their review and detail any action that is deemed necessary in relation to any recorded incident. If the Designated Premises Supervisor is of the view that action is not required then they should provide a brief written explanation detailing the reason why.

8. Signage will be clearly displayed prominently at all points of access, point of sale of alcohol and toilet areas in relation to Admission Policy, Age Policy, Drug Policy and Dress Policy.

9. The DPS and all other members of staff will ensure that no open vessels are taken off the premises by customers.

10. A receptacle disposal bin will be sited to the main access/aggress door to facilitate vessel disposal.

11. A Challenge 21 policy must be implemented with all staff insisting on evidence of age from any person appearing to be under 21 years of age and who is attempting to buy alcohol or other age restricted products. There shall be sufficient public notices displayed at the premises to inform customers and remind staff that the premises are operating a Challenge 21 policy. (NOTE: this replaces condition 9 of Crime and Disorder).

12. All staff will be fully trained and retrained on a 3 monthly basis in relation to the laws relating to the sale of alcohol to underage persons, persons buying on behalf of under 18's (proxy sales), persons appearing to be under the influence of alcohol and also the operation of the associated Challenge 21 policy. Staff will receive refresher
training at least every 3 months. (NOTE: this replaces condition 10 of Crime and Disorder).

13. Training records, signed by both the staff member and the Designated Premise Supervisor/Manager/Business Owner must be retained for future reference and must be updated at least every 3 months. All staff training records will be made available to enforcement agencies and/or Responsible Authorities upon request.
10.00 a.m - 17.00 p.m.

Preamble

ItemPreamble
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The Chair introduced all persons who were present and explained the procedure to be followed during the hearing.

The Licensing Officer advised Members that an application had been received from Cleveland Police under the provisions of Section 53A of the Licensing Act 2003 for a summary review of the premises licence. The process including the decision on the interim steps was detailed by the Licensing Officer.

Members were provided with a copy of the following documents:-

• Application for the review of a premises licence under section 53A of the Licensing Act 2003 dated 13 March 2012
• A Certificate under Section 53A(1)(b) of the Licensing Act 2003 signed by Superintendent Best and dated 13 March 2012
• A copy of the Premises Licence
• A copy of the letter from the Licensing Authority confirming the interim steps dated 22 March 2012
• A bundle of supporting evidence from the Police including witness statements of PC Iceton, Acting Inspector Peters, Sergeant Motson and PC Leek.
• A bundle of supporting evidence from the Premise Licence Holder including witness statements of Walter Cook (two separate statements dated 02 April and 05 April 2012), Christopher Tyler, Stephen Dawson and Ben Earl.

Members viewed the CCTV footage that had been obtained of the incident of serious disorder. Footage had been taken from cameras inside and outside the premise and also from Council CCTV cameras which showed the incident once it had spilled out of the premise and onto Yarm Lane.

Evidence was given by PC Iceton who gave a commentary on the CCTV footage. PC Iceton stated that in her view it appeared that the first incident of violence was attributable to a white male wearing a T Shirt with "Fenchurch" written across it. PC Iceton stated that the incident book provided by Mr Cook also records that "a white male threw a punch at what we think was a Kosovan male". PC Iceton stated that there were a couple of issues which caused the Police concern, firstly the doorman on duty were standing inside the premises. PC Iceton stated that normally the doorman would be standing outside the premises on the door. Secondly it was very unusual for so many persons to leave the premise once the violence had started. The footage showed a large number of people spilling out of the door of the premise as soon as the incident occurred. PC Iceton stated that she would have expected the doorman to remain on the door and prevent people from leaving the premise or attempting to regain entry. PC Iceton accepted that once the incident had spilled out of the premise some of the customers of the premise appeared from the footage to be attempting to calm the situation.

PC Iceton stated that whenever she has visited the premise she has always dealt with other members of staff and Mr Cook has not been there whenever she has visited.

PC Iceton stated that she believed some of the glassware involved in the disturbance had been removed from the premise. There were a number of injuries caused by cuts from glass and the CCTV footage did show glassware been thrown during the incident.

PC Iceton stated that she believed Mr Cook had previously spoken up at Pub watch meetings for an individual who was barred under Pub Watch. The individual who was Pub Watch barred had been present on the premise when the Police had attended. Despite requests from the Police the door supervisors on duty did not remove the individual from the premise. It was left for the Police to intervene and request that the individual leave the premise, which he did.

PC Iceton stated that the Police records and Mr Cook's incident book showed that there had been other incidents at the premises when glasses had been used as weapons.

Mr Skelt on behalf of the premise licence holder was given the opportunity to ask questions of PC Iceton.

Mr Senior invited Members to consider the other statements provided by the Police in their bundle of evidence.

Mr Skelt on behalf of the Premise Licence Holder called evidence from Mr Walter Cook. Mr Cook stated that he had many years experience in the licensed trade and owns eleven premises with the Garrick being considered as their flagship. Mr Cook stated that he strives to retain staff in his business as he puts effort into training them and if members of staff do more than 16 hours per week he pays for them to attain the necessary licensing qualification. Mr Cook stated that he strives to attend Pub Watch meetings and takes an active role but the recent meeting that he missed was an oversight on his part as he believed Miss Hutchcraft (current DPS) would be attending.

Mr Cook stated that he would do everything he could to address the problem of drugs. Mr Cook informed Members of an incident when he had given assistance to the Police in the prosecution of an individual who had a notoriously violent reputation and who had been threatening Mr Cook and members of his staff. Mr Cook stated that he did visit the Garrick on a daily basis as he had an office in the premise. Mr Cook accepted that there was justification in him been removed as the Designated Premises Supervisor and he believed that Katy Hutchcraft was working well as the current DPS. Mr Cook stated that prior to the incident of violent disorder he did not believe the Police or the Council had concerns over how the premise was been run.

Mr Cook stated that in relation to the incident on 10 March he believed that the group of youths who entered his premise were intent on causing trouble. Mr Cook stated that he believed they had previously been either refused entry or ejected from G.L.A.M., the nightclub on the High Street. Mr Cook stated that on 10 March a fundraising event was being held for a doorman who had passed away. Owing to this a large number of customers within the premise were off duty doormen. Mr Cook accepted that the doormans response to the incident was not wholly appropriate. Mr Cook stated that although they were clearly acting appropriately when they ejected the youths from the premises the incident that developed outside the premise could not be condoned. Mr Cook stated that he had dismissed the two doorstaff who were working on 10 March. Mr Cook confirmed that they were not employed at any of his other premises. Mr Cook stated that the group of youths who he believed had caused the trouble had not been customers of his premise before the incident and he was not aware that there had been any repercussions concerning this group.

Mr Cook stated that in relation to the Polices concern over the Pub Watch barred individual he had been involved in a relationship with his daughter. Mr Cook stated that he did not specifically speak up for this person at Pub Watch but had merely commented that this person had been acquitted of charges for which he appeared before the Courts.

Mr Cook stated that he disputed some of the references in the incidents to glassings as in his view there could be different levels of what constitutes a glassing.

Mr Cook stated that the issue of the emptying of the drugs safe on the premise was a misunderstanding on his behalf. Mr Cook stated that he was now aware that he and his staff should monitor drugs seizures in the drugs book/register and ensure that the drugs safe was emptied depending on what items and the quantity of items seized.

Mr Cook stated that Stockton town centre was very quiet and the hours the premise holds were therefore very important to sustain the business. In particular the business relies on the trade on a Friday and Saturday evening.

Mr Cook stated that he was concerned over the requirement for the premise to use polycarbonate glasses as his customers do not like to drink from polycarbonate glasses. Mr Cook produced an example of a toughened glass and a polycarbonate glass to Members. Mr Cook gave a demonstration of what happens to a toughened glass when it breaks. Although the toughened glass was heavy when it breaks it shatters into much smaller pieces similar to a car windscreen.

Mr Christopher Tyler, a member of staff at the premise was also called to give oral evidence. Mr Tyler was questioned on the extracts from the incident book which had been produced by Mr Cook in his evidence. Mr Tyler stated that at approximately 2.30 a.m. on 10 March he had completed the entry in the incident book and had done so after been instructed by a Police Officer (Sergeant 1805) as to how it should be worded. Mr Tyler stated that the Police Officer had viewed the CCTV footage on the night of 10 March and had advised him how he should enter the incident as Mr Tyler was unsure owing to the extent of the disorder.

Mr Senior on behalf of Cleveland Police was given the opportunity to ask questions of Mr Cook and Mr Tyler.

Mr Skelt invited Members to consider the other statements provided on behalf of the Premise Licence Holder in their bundle of evidence.

Mr Senior confirmed that Cleveland Police had drafted a number of conditions which they believe should be placed on the licence. A copy had been provided to the Premise Licence Holders representative and Members.

Mr Senior stated that the Sub Committee's role was not to determine who the aggressors in relation to the violent disorder were on 10 March 2012. The CCTV showed that the incident and subsequent disorder outside the premise involved two groups who had been customers of the premise and who after leaving the premise had continued to fight and be involved in serious disorder in the street. Mr Senior stated that although this was a very serous incident involving a large number of people the evidence suggested that there were violent incidents in the premise on a fairly regular basis. The incident book produced by Mr Cook also showed there were a number of violent incidents.

It was clear that there had been many management failings at the premise such as the failure to empty the drugs safe, the use of an unregistered door supervisor etc which all go to show that there had been failure in the management of the premise.

The Police remained of the view that polycarbonate glasses were required at the premise. The Police believe the hours for the premise should be reduced perhaps to 1 a.m. and that a short suspension
would act as both a deterrent and a punishment.

Mr Skelt on behalf of the premise licence holder stated that Mr Cook was a long standing and experienced licence holder. Since purchasing the premise he had significantly improved its appearance. Mr Cook did not dispute that there had been some issues with the running of the premise. Mr Cook had found the review process a salutary lesson for him and he had no intention of appearing before the Licensing Sub Committee again.

In relation to concern over drugs Mr Cook had taken all reasonable steps to prevent drug use at the premise. Mr Cook had employed staff to work in the toilets of the premise on a Friday and Saturday. Mr Cook did act on some of the advice given by the Police in their letter to him albeit he did not feel it necessary to install UV lighting. There had been no suggestion of any drug dealing taking place on the premise. The issue over the emptying of the drug safe had been clarified and Mr Cook was now well aware that it was his responsibility to contact the Police and ensure that it was emptied as required.

Mr Cook did not seek to minimise the seriousness of the incident on 10 March but felt that the group of youths who entered his premise were intent on causing trouble. At the time the door staff had their hands full in trying to deal with the group and it was for this reason that they were unable to prevent the large number of persons from exiting the premise. Mr Cook accepted that the requirement for additional doorman was a reasonable requirement and one that would ensure there was no repeat of such an incident.

In relation to the use of toughened glass Mr Cook had been proactive in using such glassware and should be commended for that. To require the use of polycarbonate glasses at all times would cause real problems for a publican as many of his customers like to drink from ‘normal' glasses and perhaps top their drinks up from bottles. Mr Cook was concerned that he would lose his customers if he was required to use polycarbonate glasses. One suggested compromise would be for the premise to be permitted to use toughened glasses until a specified permitted hour then ensure that there was a changeover to polycarbonate glasses.

The licensable hours of the premise were obviously very important to Mr Cook's business. Since the interim measures had been in place requiring the premise to cease the supply of alcohol at 01:00 hours there had been a noticeable reduction in takings. Mr Cook would respectfully suggest that a further period of suspension would be unnecessary given that there had already been a short period of suspension during the summary review process. Mr Cook would oppose any further changes to his CCTV system but would be agreeable to addressing any blind spots in the coverage as identified by the Police.

In relation to the requirement for a personal licence holder to be present on the premises when alcohol was supplied there were no major objections to this albeit Mr Cook said it could perhaps cause an issue when the premise first opens and he would request that it does not apply on mornings.

Mr Cook was agreeable to the requirement for 4 SIA registered door staff to be employed at the premise on a Friday and Saturday evening.
Mr Cook also had no objection to other conditions requested by the Police such as the incident book, ban on open vessels leaving the premise, Challenge 21 policy and training record requirements.

Mr Cook believed that the incident on 10 March will not be repeated.

Mr Cook was well aware that should there be any repetition of such problems that see him back before the Committee then he knows he will get short shrift. Mr Cook had learned a number of lessons from this experience and steps had been taken that would ensure the premise operated to the standards expected by the Police and Licensing Authority.

In considering their decision Members had regard to the written application which had been submitted by Cleveland Police. Members also had regard to guidance issued by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport titled Expedited / Summary Licence Reviews Guidance which was issued in October 2007. Members also heard submissions from the legal representatives for the premise licence holder and Cleveland Police.

Members were satisfied from the information provided by Cleveland Police that there had been serious disorder connected with the premise. Members noted that the incident which had led to the Summary Review application was particularly serious and had occurred at approximately 01.15 a.m. on Saturday 10 March 2012. A fight had occurred within the premises and after the intervention of the door staff had spilled out of the premises onto the public highway. Outside the premises a large number of people continued to fight which involved the use of a weapon(s) and bottles and glasses were also thrown. After viewing the CCTV footage from both inside and outside the premise it was clear that the vast majority of the persons involved in the disorder had been in the premise immediately prior to the disorder. Members of the public involved in the disturbance received a number of injuries which ranged from cuts from glass to a compound fracture of a males leg. One male was arrested at the scene and the Police continued to make enquires following an appeal in the local press which was likely to lead to further arrests.

Members were of the view that it was not their role to apportion blame for the two distinct groups who appeared to be involved in the violent disorder. What was not in dispute was that the two groups had been served drinks in the premise before the disorder started and were therefore both customers of the premise. Both groups also left the premise and continued to be involved in large scale disorder outside the premise. Although some members of one of the groups had sought to calm the situation there still remained members of both groups who appeared intent on serious violence. It was not in dispute that a number of people involved in the incident were injured. As an example the individual who had his leg/ankle badly broken was the partner of Miss Hutchcraft. From viewing the CCTV footage it appeared that the injury had been received some way down Yarm Lane towards the junction with the High Street. This was quite a distance away from the premise. Although Mr Cook sought to blame the group of youths for that injury it was apparent to Members that the injury would not have been sustained had the individual not left the premise and got involved in large scale violent disorder some distance away from the premise.

Members noted that Mr Cook had given interviews in the local press criticising the Police for their response to the incident. The Police had included a number of these press cuttings in their bundle of evidence. Members noted that contrary to some of the statements made to the press Mr Cook acknowledged that the situation had not been handled correctly by his door staff and that at least one member of his door staff had acted totally inappropriately by assaulting or attempting to assault members of the opposing group. Members re-iterated their view which was expressed in their earlier decision letter that the Police were fully justified in responding to the incident and bringing the application for a Summary Review. Rather than seeking to criticise the Police Mr Cook should have been mindful of the role his customers and doorstaff had taken in the incident. It was quite clear that contrary to the impression given by Mr Cook his customers and door staff were not wholly innocent parties in the violent disorder. This may have been a knee jerk reaction by Mr Cook seeking to deflect blame from his premise but it did him no credit at all. Members did however note that the Police had indicated that prior to this incident they were not intending to review the premises licence. The Police did have some concerns over the running of the premise but they accepted that a review would not have been taken if the incident on 10 March had not occurred. Members hoped that Mr Cook would accept and learn from the salutary lesson which his Counsel stated he had learned and that he would seek a more constructive working relationship with the Police.

Members did not accept the submission made on behalf of Mr Cook that this was a well run premise save for the incident on 10 March. In the opinion of Members this was perhaps a case where an experienced member of the licensed trade such as Mr Cook had become laid back in his approach to the management of the premise. One possible explanation for this could be that Mr Cook was rarely at the premise as indicated in the evidence of PC Iceton. It was clear to Members that there were many other incidents of violence connected with the premise. Evidence of previous violent incidents was contained in the evidence of the Police and in the incident book produced by Mr Cook. The record of incidents recorded did not seem to correlate with the rosy image of the premise presented by Mr Cook. Members were of the view that certain elements of Mr Cooks clientele were happy to resort to violence in his premise. It was accepted that Mr Cook's staff including his door staff had dealt with some of the incidents in the correct manner and Mr Cook was given credit for that. However it was of major concern to Members that a number of the incidents did record the use of glass as a weapon. Members were of the view that steps had to be taken to address this issue.
After considering all of the evidence including the submissions from the parties the Committee were of the view that a number of additional conditions should be added to the Premises Licence.
Members agreed to reduce the terminal hour for supply of alcohol on a Saturday to 02:00 hours with an additional 30 minutes as drinking up time. This meant that the premises had a terminal hour for the supply of alcohol till 02:00 hours on a Friday and Saturday and till 01:00 hours for the remaining 5 days. Members also agreed to remove an hour from the morning supply of alcohol so that supply of alcohol could commence from 10 a.m. seven days per week. Members were of the view that the reduction in hours was necessary and proportionate to address the drunken behaviour and/or violence recorded in the Polices evidence and the incident book produced by Mr Cook. Members were mindful that the Police had argued for an even earlier terminal hour but Members felt a proportionate approach was required for two main reasons, firstly that the Police had indicated they were not on the verge of pursuing a review prior to the incident on 10 March and secondly that this was the first time the premises had appeared before the Licensing Committee on a review. If the premise did not improve and there continued to be incidents of violence connected with the premise then Mr Cook should be in no doubt that any further review of the premises licence could result in revocation being considered as a starting point.

Members did take into consideration the argument put forward by Mr Cook that his customers may no longer use his premise if they had to use polycarbonate glasses. Members were of the view that Mr Cook should make an effort to ensure that his customers do use polycarbonate glasses and that he should attempt wherever possible to source products in plastic bottles. Members hoped that Mr Cook would perhaps introduce a trial with his customers to see whether he could change to polycarbonate and plastic bottles whenever the premise was open for licensable activity. At this time Members were not minded to impose such a requirement but did feel that a specific hour was required when the premise must only serve drinks in polycarbonate glasses and that no glass bottles should be served. Members therefore agreed that when the premise opens for licensable activity toughened glasses must be used until 23:00 hours. The last supply of a drink in a toughened glass shall take place at 23:00 hours after which time any supply of a drink must be in a polycarbonate glass. Any bottled drink must be dispensed into a polycarbonate glass after 23:00 hours. It was accepted that there would have to be a period of time when customers who had been served drinks in toughened glassware were given an opportunity to finish their drinks. Members deemed 30 minutes to be sufficient and therefore by 23:30 hours no customer should be in possession of any glassware. Members expect the premise to manage this and if a customer was been slow to finish a drink which had been served in a toughened glass then they must be advised that if they did not finish the drink by 23:30 hours they would be asked to leave the premise. The management would also be expected to ensure that any glassware (i.e bottles and glasses) was cleared from all customer/ public areas in the premise by 23:30 hours. Mr Cook should be in no doubt that this provision would be closely monitored by the Police and Council Licensing Officers and that he should ensure that this was robustly implemented to ensure no breaches of the condition. These measures were deemed necessary as bottles and glasses had been used as weapons in the incident of disorder i.e. one of the doorstaff had a bottle smashed over his head and glassware had also been thrown in the premise and/or street. There were also records of glass ware been sued as weapons in other incidents at the premise.

Members also agreed that drinks in open vessels should not leave the premises i.e. customers should not be allowed to stand in the street with drinks in glasses or bottles. If customers wished to smoke outside the premise they were obviously entitled to do so but they should not be allowed to leave with their drinks.

Members also agreed that on a Friday and Saturday 4 SIA registered doorstaff should be employed at the premise from 20:00 hours until closing.

Members accepted that the CCTV footage they had been shown from the premise had been of high quality and Mr Cook was given credit for installing such a system. However in the view of Members there were some blind spots in the premise which needed to be addressed. The CCTV should cover all areas of the premise to which members of the public / customers had access (save for the toilets). It was deemed appropriate to attach the CCTV condition as detailed by Cleveland Police with the proviso that Mr Cook should liaise with the Police to ensure that any blind spots in the areas of the premise to which the public have access are covered by CCTV.

Members confirmed the decision of the interim step that Mr Cook should be removed as the DPS. It was noted that this had already taken place and that Katy Hutchcraft was now DPS.

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