LICENSING ACT 2003: REVIEW OF A PREMISES LICENCE - THE GALLEY, 118 VALE ROAD, RHYL
- Meeting of Licensing Sub Committee, Monday, 20 August 2018 10.00 am (Item 3.)
- View the background to item 3.
To consider an application from North Wales Police for the Review of a Premises Licence made in accordance with Section 51 of the Licensing Act 2003 in respect of The Galley, 118 Vale Road, Rhyl (an outline of the submission and associated papers are attached).
RESOLVED that –
<![if !supportLists]>(a) <![endif]>the Designated Premises Supervisor be removed, and
<![if !supportLists]>(b) <![endif]>the Premises Licence be suspended for a period of three months or such lesser time as North Wales Police indicate to the licensing authority that it is satisfied that the management of the premises is adhering to the licensing objectives and is prepared to have some meaningful liaison with North Wales Police.
A report by the Head of Planning and Public Protection (previously circulated) was submitted upon –
<![if !supportLists]>(i) <![endif]>an application having been received from North Wales Police for the Review of a Premises Licence held by Mrs. Vanessa Michelle Steele in respect of The Galley, 118 Vale Road, Rhyl (a copy of the existing Premises Licence and current operating schedule having been attached as Appendix A to the report);
<![if !supportLists]>(ii) <![endif]>the grounds for review related to the Licensing Objectives for the Prevention of Crime and Disorder and Public Safety and were –
“as a result of the concerns that North Wales Police has in respect of the management at the licensed premises. The Premises Licence Holder (who is also the Designated Premises Supervisor) has failed to engage with the Force to address these concerns, despite clear evidence of a lack of understanding of the Licensing Objectives as defined under the Licensing Act 2003.”
full details of the Review application having been attached as Appendix B to the report;
<![if !supportLists]>(iii) <![endif]>North Wales Police and the Council having embarked on a joint initiative to visit licensed premises in the Rhyl area to highlight the requirements of licensed premises not to serve people who were drunk as well as to generate support for the local Pubwatch scheme (Pubwatch was a national voluntary scheme set up with the aim of achieving a safe, secure and responsibly led social drinking environment in licensed premises);
<![if !supportLists]>(iv) <![endif]>a visit to The Galley undertaken on 27 May 2018 as part of that initiative during which officers were subjected to foul language, confrontational and aggressive behaviour by a drunk member of the premises management and officers’ opinion that the management team held some contempt to the Pubwatch scheme and would serve whom they wished;
<![if !supportLists]>(v) <![endif]>a letter having been sent to the Premises Licence Holder inviting her to attend a meeting to discuss Police concerns and agree a supportive way forward and her response that should she wish to become a member of the local Pubwatch scheme in future she would inform the Police and Local Authority;
<![if !supportLists]>(vi) <![endif]>the Premises Licence Holder having also failed to attend a further meeting arranged by the Police to discuss concerns and agree a mutual understanding of the legal requirement to further promote the licensing objectives;
<![if !supportLists]>(vii) <![endif]>the Premises Licence Holder in response to the Review application having suggested she was willing to attend any local Pubwatch meetings (a copy of the response having been attached as Appendix C to the report);
<![if !supportLists]>(viii) <![endif]>footage provided by the Police from a body camera during a follow up licensing visit on 1 June 2018 having been submitted in evidence and viewed by members prior to the hearing – the footage showed an individual on the premises who had been banned under the Pubwatch Scheme;
<![if !supportLists]>(ix) <![endif]>the need to consider the Review application taking due account of the Guidance issued by the Secretary of State and the Council’s Statement of Licensing Policy;
<![if !supportLists]>(x) <![endif]>reference to the joint enforcement protocol with North Wales Police and the Council and three stage enforcement with an escalation mechanism – the failure of the Premises Licence Holder to engage with Police having resulted in immediate escalation to stage three, and
<![if !supportLists]>(xi) <![endif]>options available to the committee when determining the Review application.
The Enforcement Officer (HB) introduced the report and outlined the facts of the case. There had been some confusion on the part of the premises management with regard to the Designated Premises Supervisor and it was clarified that Mrs. Vanessa Steele was the Designated Premises Supervisor, not Ms. Kayleigh Mannion. Mrs. Steele had advised of the intention for Ms. Mannion to apply to undertake that role in future, however no application had been received to date.
APPLICANT’S (NORTH WALES POLICE) SUBMISSION
Chief Inspector Andrew Williams and Police Licensing Manager Aaron Haggas were in attendance in support of the Review Application for North Wales Police.
The Police Licensing Manager explained his role and work with the Police in proactively engaging and creating positive working relationships with partners and licensed premises and highlighted the benefits of that approach for all parties. He also highlighted the importance of actively promoting the licensing objectives and ensuring licensed premises were aware of their responsibilities in that regard. Whilst it was appreciated that the Designated Premises Supervisor did not need to be present on the premises at all times, it was important for that individual to make themselves available to discuss concerns and be actively involved.
Chief Inspector Andrew Williams provided some context to the Review Application in terms of the wider community and investment in the regeneration of Rhyl together with the issue of alcohol related crime. He reported upon work being undertaken in the Rhyl area to make people feel safe highlighting the important role of licensees in that regard and working with them to promote the licensing objectives. The Chief Inspector referred to his submissions and evidence provided within the Review Application and drew attention to the following –
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>evidence that staff considered Mr. Steele to be the licensee, his behaviour towards Police, and the hostility experienced by officers
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>the complete and utter lack of knowledge of the Licensing Act and responsibilities of licensees in that regard when questioned
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>the joint programme of routine visits to licensed premises operated by the Council and Police to aid early intervention and prevention of problems which was welcomed by most licensed premises, but the view in this case that Police attention was not needed or wanted with the inference that problems would be handled by the premises management rather than with Police to resolve issues
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>during the visit on 27 May 2018 it transpired that the Premises Licence Holder/Designated Premises Supervisor was seated in the bar but she did not identify or introduce herself at any point during the exchange
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>there was complete and utter contempt for the Pubwatch scheme; the Police considered Pubwatch extremely beneficial in the prevention of crime and disorder and whilst membership of the scheme was optional, the requirement to prevent crime and disorder was not and there was a positive obligation in that regard – it was argued that to continue to willfully turn a blind eye to elements in society and serve them without concern was not conducive to that requirement. The premises management’s argument that they had no need for Pubwatch and there was rarely trouble at the premises could not be substantiated because they did not call the Police but dealt with issues themselves
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>detailed the numerous attempts made by the Police to engage with the premises and reported upon the contempt and responses received in that regard – whilst an offer had been made for Ms. Mannion to attend a meeting it was necessary to meet directly with the Designated Premises Supervisor to discuss concerns and expectations – in quoting directly from an email received from Mrs. Vanessa Steele she advised that “unfortunately I do not have time for the role” which provided no confidence in the management of the premises. Whilst there was an intention for Ms. Mannion to undertake the role of Designated Premises Supervisor this was not the current position
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>reiterated concerns given the type of violent criminals served at the premises and reported upon intelligence received with regard to drug use and drink driving which would be subject to further investigation.
In closing the Chief Inspector referred to his desire to work with the premises and ensure a safe environment for patrons. However in view of the complete disregard of the prevention of crime and disorder objective and contempt shown in that regard the Police felt no assurance could be taken that a responsible person was in charge at the premises. Consequently the Chief Inspector asked that the Premises Licence be suspended until such time that a new Designated Premises Supervisor was appointed and assurances provided in terms of the licensing objectives.
In response to questions the Chief Inspector advised that –
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>there was no evidence of crime and disorder at the premises because they did not engage with the Police at all – the prevention of crime and disorder was a requirement under the Licensing Act 2005 and there was evidence the management of the premises were failing to meet that licensing objective
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>apart from intelligence received regarding drug use and drink driving as evidenced in the written submission no other complaints had been received but people were generally reluctant to talk officially to the Police in that regard.
PREMISES LICENCE HOLDER’S REPRESENTATION
Mrs. Vanessa Steele, Premises Licence Holder and Designated Premises Supervisor was not in attendance and had appointed Ms. Kayleigh Mannion to represent her at the hearing. Ms. Mannion was a member of the bar staff and was accompanied by Ms. Patricia Wilson who worked at the premises in an administrative capacity and Ms. Carys Rainford who was the licensed landlord and owner of the premises.
In response to the Police submissions –
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>Ms. Mannion indicated that she had not been present during the Police visit on 27 May 2018 but when Mr. Steele advised that he was not working that night the Police should have refrained from further discussion and instead spoken to bar staff which could have prevented his reaction. She explained that Mr. Steele was a customer at the time of the visit, he was not management, and he had become ‘wound up’. Ms. Carys Rainford indicated that she was present during the visit and did not experience any hostility and was not negative towards the Police. The Chief Inspector reiterated that the Police had asked to speak to bar staff and it was Mr. Steele who had approached the Police to speak with them in the bar area. Ms. Mannion clarified that as Mr. Steele was owner of the business he had been incorrectly identified as the licensee by a member of the bar staff when questioned by Police. She added that Mr. Steele had not ventured behind the bar as such during that visit because drinks were not served from that area which had been designated a clearing/sink area
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>it was accepted that individuals banned under the Pubwatch scheme were served at the premises but there had been no trouble at the premises over the last ten years – if there was any trouble the Police would be informed but staff could control the customers. As the premises was not a member of Pubwatch those banned were aware they would be served and, after drinking, taxis would be arranged via Ms. Rainford’s taxi company to take customers home so they were not on the streets causing trouble
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>confirmed that Mrs. Steele worked during the day and was only available at the premises during the evenings or weekends
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>to their knowledge the Police had not been into the premises to check for drug use or investigate any allegations of drink driving
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>Ms. Rainford provided details of the comprehensive use of CCTV in the vicinity of the premises to protect her property advising that she fully co-operated with Police in the event that footage was requested and prevention of crime and disorder was taken seriously – she met with Mrs. Steele on a regular basis and was unaware of any issues of crime and disorder, especially in terms of security – in her view the premises was operated professionally and properly
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>Ms. Wilson advised that, in terms of crime and disorder, the area used to be busy but at present The Galley was the only pub open – they had long standing patrons who had been drinking at the premises for generations, including the elderly, which demonstrated there was no fear of crime; at weekends families frequented the premises and she classed the premises as family friendly. There was no evidence of crime and whilst there was the odd disagreement there were never any serious disturbance or issues of concern at the premises.
In response to questions members were advised that –
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>customers banned on the Pubwatch scheme had been patrons for generations – it was not just a business decision to serve them
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>it had been difficult for Mrs. Steele to meet with the Police due to work commitments but it was accepted that she should have made arrangements to meet with the Police when she was available outside of work hours
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>their view that because there was no crime and disorder at the premises there was no need to engage with the Police
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>there had been no input from the Police since 2010 and the premises was managed and operated effectively.
APPLICANT’S (NORTH WALES POLICE) FINAL STATEMENT
In his final statement Chief Inspector Andrew Williams reiterated that he would welcome a conversation with Mrs. Steele – he had offered to meet on numerous occasions whilst also indicating his willingness to meet at a time most convenient to her. Mrs. Steele had advised that she had no time to run the premises and there was currently no one of responsibility in charge. The management controlled the premises themselves without involving the Police, serving those banned under the Pubwatch scheme resulting in a concentration of violent individuals. The Chief Inspector further responded to previous comments made that he should not have continued his conversation with Mr. Steele on 27 May 2018 by advising that he had indicated to Mr. Steele that he was in no fit state to speak with him but he persisted to continue the conversation. He also responded that, if serving customers banned under the Pubwatch Scheme was not a business decision – there would be no other reason to continue to do so – driving out the bad elements would increase bar sales and enhance the reputation of the premises.
ADJOURNMENT TO CONSIDER THE APPLICATION
At this juncture (11.40 a.m.) the Licensing Sub Committee adjourned to consider the application.
RESOLVED that –
(a) the Designated Premises Supervisor be removed, and
(b) the Premises Licence be suspended for a period of three months or such lesser time as North Wales Police indicate to the licensing authority that it is satisfied that the management of the premises is adhering to the licensing objectives and is prepared to have some meaningful liaison with North Wales Police.
The Chair conveyed the Sub Committee’s decision to the parties present and the Solicitor reported upon the reasons for the decision as follows –
The Licensing Sub Committee heard all of the submissions in respect of the application for a Review of the Premises Licence for The Galley brought by North Wales Police.
The Chief Inspector had given a long and detailed account of attempts made to engage with the premises and his failure to meet Mrs. Vanessa Steele (Premises Licence Holder and Designated Premises Supervisor) at all, despite those attempts. By her own admission Mrs. Steele stated that she had no time to be involved in the running of the business.
Mrs. Steele had failed to attend the Review hearing and instead appointed Ms. Kayleigh Mannion to represent her. There was a belief that Ms. Mannion was Designated Premises Supervisor at the premises. This was a wrongly held belief and had been for some time. There was no application on behalf of the business to change the Designated Premises Supervisor at this time and it was not known whether Ms. Kayleigh Mannion would be a suitable Designated Premises Supervisor. There was no correspondence between Mrs. Steele and anyone else at the premises with regard to her stepping down as Designated Premises Supervisor and appointing someone else in her stead.
The submissions of North Wales Police demonstrated a complete lack of willingness on behalf of the management team at the premises to engage with the Police. Whilst it was accepted that the premises had no detailed record of crime and disorder at the premises, it appeared to be the case, on the submissions put forward by Ms. Kayleigh Mannion and Ms. Carys Rainford that the ethos of the business was very much that they would continue to handle issues themselves as opposed to discussing how they might prevent crime and disorder at their premises. It would also appear that the unwillingness to engage with the Police, even in a preventative situation, goes further than Mrs. Steele but to other people who were involved to one extent or another with the running of the premises. There was a certain hostility towards that engagement for reasons which were unclear from the hearing itself.
The Licensing Sub Committee had little confidence in the present management of the premises. As such, it could not be confident that whoever was in reality running the premises was supporting the licensing objectives. Consequently the Licensing Sub Committee resolved to remove Mrs. Vanessa Steele as Designated Premises Supervisor. Furthermore the Licensing Sub Committee determined to suspend the Premises Licence for a period of three months, or such lesser time as North Wales Police indicated to the licensing authority that it was satisfied that the management of the premises was adhering to the licensing objectives and that the management of the premises was prepared to have some meaningful liaison with North Wales Police.
All parties were advised of the right of appeal against the Licensing Sub Committee’s decision to the Magistrates Court within twenty one days.