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26 November 2011, 08:51
Bedford nightclub Saints has been shut for up to three months after an emergency meeting of the Licensing Committee.
A number of Bedford Borough Council’s Licensing Committee members met at Borough Hall at the request of Bedfordshire Police as local officers had become concerned at the high volume of incidents either at the club or connected with it.
After hearing from police Licensing and Nightime Economy Officer PC Ali McGaw and from representatives of club management and legal advisors, the committee decided that the club’s licence should be suspended for up to three months with immediate effect, pending a further hearing at the full committee meeting on December 19.
The committee have made a Full Suspension Order, which means that the club’s licence to operate has been temporarily suspended.
The committee heard that since January, there have been 76 criminal offences either in the club, or stemming from customers who had been there. Thirty of the offences included violence.
The final straw was a very large scale disorder and fight inside and outside the club at the weekend. Although broken up by police, some those involved in this incident are thought to have continued hostilities shortly afterwards at the Polhill Avenue student campus, leading to a man being stabbed in the chest.
“The law provides that anyone holding a licence of this nature must ensure the safety of staff and customers inside their premises. They also have a responsibility for ensuring they make every effort to minimise any potential problems their business activities could cause in the wider community,” said Chief Insp Rob McCaffray, Bedford area police commander.
“Asking for a licence suspension is a step we take very rarely and very seriously, but we felt there was no choice because of the volume and nature of the incidents we’ve attended in the last few months,” he said.
“Every weekend thousands of people come into the town centre to enjoy a night out and we certainly don’t want to spoil the fun. But everyone has a right to enjoy their evening in a safe environment and we couldn’t allow the situation to continue as we head into the very busy Christmas period,” said Chief Insp McCaffray.