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It has been reported that a Welsh pub was forced to close over the new year period (2019) following incidences that resulted in injuries to police officers and members of the public. 

On 30 December 2019, officers imposed a 48-hour closure notice on the Boat House Pub, formerly known as the Tower Hotel, on Stryd Fawr, Pwllheli. 

Police is reported to have said it had no confidence in the management’s ability to prevent, or respond to, further violence. 

What are the powers available to the police to close licensed premises?

The Licensing Act 2003 extended police powers to seek court orders to close licensed premises in an area experiencing or likely to experience disorder and to close down instantly licensed premises that are disorderly, likely to become disorderly, or are causing nuisance as a result of noise from the premises.  

It is important to note that the powers given to police officers to close a licensed premises can be called upon in cases where crime and disorder is anticipated (or likely) to happen.  It is therefore not necessary for a police officer to show that crime and disorder has, or is, happening at the time of the closure. 

Closure Notices

A Police Officer of the rank of Inspector or above can issue a Closure Notice if satisfied on reasonable grounds that: 

  • the use of a particular premises has resulted, or is likely to result in nuisance to members of the public; orthere has been, or
  • is likely to be, disorder near those premises associated with the use of those premises;
  • and that the notice is necessary to prevent the nuisance or disorder from continuing, recurring or occurring.

Closure notices can last for up to 48 hours meaning that a licensed premises is unlikely to trade which could have significant financial and business implications.

Following the making of a Closure Order, either by the Magistrates’ Court or the Crown Court, the Licensing Authority must complete a review of the Premises Licence within 28 days of such order.

Information to be provided

The Closure Notice has to identify the premises, explain the effect of the notice, the consequences of failing to comply with the notice, that an application will be made for a Closure Order, where and when the application would be heard and explain the effect of the Closure Order. 

Compensation

 Under section 90 of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, a person who claims to have incurred financial loss as a consequence of a Closure Notice or Order may apply to the Magistrates’ Court for compensation, or to the Crown Court if it made the Closure Order on appeal.

 Any application for compensation has to be made within 3 months of the date the Closure Order was cancelled, refused or it ceased to have effect.

Stephen McCaffrey

Regulatory defence barrister specialising in alcohol and entertainment licensing law, appeals and defence.

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