The purpose of this report is to ask the Committee to consider and comment on the annual reports of the Licensing Authority and Medway Police on licensing compliance and enforcement.
The Committee considered a joint report on Licensing Compliance and Enforcement during the period April 2014 to March 2015. The Licensing Enforcement Officer, Kent Police, outlined the role of the Police and highlighted the effectiveness of joint working with Council officers and other partner agencies on enforcement work. The excellent joint working relationship ensured that relevant information was shared, visits completed and the results of those visits shared between partners.
Referring to the crime data contained within the report, she reported that the highest number of crimes connected to licenced premises had been under the violence against the person category. The Police were focusing on how to reduce this figure, particularly in relation to the night time economy and they had fostered good relations with staff at Medway’s public houses and clubs. An information sharing forum attended by the Divisional Licensing Unit, Neighbourhood Police and door supervisors enabled the identification of people who it was felt needed to be considered for exclusion from all licenced premises. Only 24 drug related offences had been reported during the year with many premises carrying out their own checks and increasing their use of CCTV.
The Committee raised a number of issues including street beggars in Rochester High Street and were advised that additional police patrols had been organised so that people could be sign posted to organisations that offered support.
With regard to drug offences, the Committee was advised that anyone suspected of being a supplier would be arrested and charged. More door staff were searching customers entering licenced premises and this was acting as a deterrent.
Responding to a question on the future organisation of the North Division Licensing Unit, the Licensing Enforcement Officer, Kent Police, advised that it was not envisaged that there would be a reduction in the number of Licensing Officers when Swale no longer came under the Division’s responsibility. Most of the visits undertaken by the Division were to premises within Medway.
The Committee considered a further report on compliance and enforcement during April 2014 to March 2015 prepared by the Licensing Authority. This provided details of the compliance and enforcement work carried out by the Licensing Enforcement Officers within the Licensing Team outside of the Licensing Act 2003. The areas covered were taxis, gambling, sex establishments, charity collections, street trading, and scrap metal. It was noted that, with effect from 1 August 2015, all compliance and enforcement activity relating to street trading and scrap metal had passed to the Environmental Services team.
The Committee raised a number of issues including scrap metal enforcement and the Licensing and Local Land Charges Manager advised that one of the main reasons why this had transferred to the Environmental Services team was that their wardens were best placed to identify issues within their locality.
A Member suggested that future reports distinguish between complaints regarding Medway taxi drivers and complaints regarding drivers from outside of the district. The Committee were advised that there were many complaints concerning out of area drivers, particularly in relation to poor local knowledge, dirty vehicles and overcharging. Any vehicles found to be in a poor condition were taken off the road.
The Committee noted the reports prepared and presented by the Licensing Authority and Medway Police