Police succeed in getting Bexhill bar's licence reviewed
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Police addressing continued disorder at a Bexhill bar have been successful in an application for a review of the establishment’s licence.
Sussex Police submitted an application to Rother District Council to review the licence of The Devonshire Bar and Lounge in Devonshire Square due to concerns around levels of crime at the venue.
The application was heard by councillors on Friday (November 13) and after deliberation, a number of changes to the bar’s licence were agreed.
Inspector Olivia Carroll, of the Hastings and Rother Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “We submitted the application due to serious concerns over continued disorder, assaults and ongoing drug use within the premises.
“This has been ongoing for a number of years and despite raising our concerns with the premises licence holder, no improvements have been seen. We felt there was no other proportionate course of action other than a review of the premises licence.”
Sussex Police’s application was supported by evidence including a number of visits to the bar where drug swab results showed high levels of cocaine use.
The most recent swabs were taken in September 2020 and despite enhanced cleaning due to coronavirus, high levels of cocaine were still found in numerous areas.
Since January 1 2019, police have received 110 calls relating to The Devonshire and recorded 51 incidents including violent crime and sexual offences.
Rother District Council agreed to limit the venue’s sale of alcohol to midnight Sunday to Thursday, and to 1am on Fridays and Saturdays. The bar will also introduce a last entry condition, meaning no new customers would be allowed to enter the premises after 11.30pm Sunday to Thursday, and after 12.30am Friday and Saturday.
A number of other conditions were added to the licence, including for appropriate CCTV equipment to be installed, an absolute zero tolerance policy towards drugs and drugs misuse, and regular patrols of the customer trading areas, smoking area and toilets to ensure customer behaviour is not in breach of the law.
Sussex Police also requested a change in management at the venue, and for the bar to close for at least eight weeks while the changes are embedded. The premises licence holder voluntarily dismissed the previous management and temporarily closed the venue prior to the review hearing.
Inspector Carroll added: “We would always prefer for premises licence holders to work with us to identify and address any issues, and we will always look to support them with this. However, in the instances where this has not happened, we will take necessary and proportionate action.
“When there is continued crime and disorder associated with a venue, it has a significant impact on people in the area and on police resources. It’s important for us to address these issues in the interests of public safety and for the quality of life of people in our community.”