'Violent' Pub Has Licence Taken Away

A pub in Portchester's had its license taken away after police feared someone would be killed because of the violence there.

The licence for a pub in Portchester has been revoked during a review hearing at Fareham Borough Council.

Portsdown Inn's been accused of holding lock-ins and there have been reports of fights there with things like baseball bats and knuckle dusters..

Hampshire Constabulary's Fareham district commander Chief Inspector Jason Kenny said: "Police gathered evidence of disturbing behaviour and disorder at the Portsdown Inn over several months. 

"Preventing violence at licensed premises is a priority for the police, and we believe urgent action was required to stop crime at this pub escalating to an extent where someone could die as a result. 

"Officers are already investigating several reports of violence, which include an alleged weapon being used to cause serious injury. Suspects remain on police bail pending further enquiries. These are unusual and unacceptable crimes for the Fareham and Gosport area, where there have been fewer victims of violence over the past year. Overall serious violent crime fell by 23 per cent between April 2011 and March 2012 compared to the same 12 months a year earlier. 

"However, Hampshire Constabulary was never complacent in its efforts to tackle what we regarded as irresponsible management of the Portsdown Inn. Although officers always strive to support good practice by licensees, we remained particularly concerned about the Portsdown Inn's failure to address persistent problems reported by local residents and police officers. 

"The policing of licensed premises is guided by four objectives set out in law within the Licensing Act 2003, namely the prevention of crime and disorder, ensuring public safety, the prevention of public nuisance, and the protection of children from harm.

"When there are signs of crime and disorder, we expect licensees to act decisively in stopping sales of alcohol, ceasing entertainment, and considering an early closure of their premises. 

"The Portsdown Inn has fallen far short of the standards we would expect of a responsible business over a prolonged period of time. This lack of confidence in successive licensees at these premises meant we firmly believed that taking away the pub's licence was the only option to prevent more serious violence. Such a recommendation is never considered lightly, but we urged the licensing committee to take this tough action to help police protect the community."

Police say they employ a range of measures to further improve standards within licensed premises, including:

* Employ door staff accredited by the Security Industry Authority (SIA).

* Supply drinks in plastic glasses

* Brief staff about responsible sales of alcohol 

* Full participation with local independent Pubwatch schemes. 

We want licensees and managers to be: 

* Present and visible on their premises 

* Open and ethical in reporting any issues 

* To know and understand their own licences and conditions. 

Cheryl Fernandez-Versini

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