Silks, 177-181 Rushey Green, Catford, SE6 4BD
Lewisham LBC, Licensing Committee
Application for review
1. The Metropolitan Police (“the Police”) have submitted an application to review the premises licence for Silks, 177-181 Rushey Green, Catford, SE6 4BD (“the Premises”) on the grounds of preventing crime and disorder, preventing public nuisance and public safety. The Police seek revocation of the licence or, as a fallback, removal of the Designated Premises Supervisor (“DPS”) and variations to the licence conditions.
2. The premises licence is held by Walk Safe Security Services Ltd (“the PLH”). The DPS is Sharna Johnson.
3. The Licensing Committee held a remote hearing using Microsoft Teams on 6 October 2022 to consider the application which was adjourned, as a matter of fairness to the PLH, following the submission of late evidence by the police. The parties were directed to file any further evidence in good time before today’s hearing.
4. In making its decision, the Committee has taken into account all of the papers in the reports pack and the evidence and submissions presented by the parties at the hearing. It has also taken into account the Council’s Statement of Licensing Policy and the Home Office’s statutory guidance.
5. Before today’s (remote) hearing began, the PLH’s representative informed the Council’s officers that it would not be attending today’s hearing, stating that it was unlawful to conduct this hearing remotely and that it did not wish to participate in an unlawful hearing. The Committee was advised that the hearing could lawfully proceed remotely and decided to proceed in the absence of the PLH.
6. The Committee’s decision is to revoke the licence. Its reasons are as follows:
· The Committee read detailed evidence submitted by the Police which showed a number of serious incidents associated with the premises, including a number of shocking episodes of violent assaults which were very poorly managed by the Premises’ security team. For instance, on 19 December 2021, an intoxicated customer was ejected from the Premises but not moved on. The Premises’ security team did not call the police. The customer attempted to ram the front door of the Premises with a Range Rover, mounting the pavement and putting pedestrians at risk of serious harm. As a further example, on 30 April 2022, a female was attacked in the street by two customers (one of them male) of the Premises with a glass bottle which had been taken out of the Premises. These and other incidents suggested to the Committee that the security arrangements at the Premises were completely inadequate.
· The Police stated, and the Committee accepted, that the PLH had not taken responsibility for the management failings at the Premises. For example, there was an alleged sexual assault at the Premises on 26 March 2022. When the Police requested CCTV footage from the Premises, it turned out that there was no footage due to a system failure and that the incident would not have been captured in any event because the cameras did not cover that part of the Premises (a breach of condition). The Committee were also very disappointed that the PLH did not attend today’s hearing and considered that there was no proper reason why it could not take part (even if it considered the use of Microsoft Teams to be unlawful). This was a further example of the PLH’s failure to engage with the responsible authorities and to take responsibility for its actions. It also meant the Committee was not presented with any evidence or submissions to rebut the case made by the Police.
· The evidence presented by the Police showed a pattern of serious incidents which were the result of management failings on the part of the PLH: incidents had been poorly managed as they occurred; and the PLH had failed to engage with the Police or to learn lessons and make improvements after those incidents.
7. For these reasons, the Committee concluded that it had lost confidence in the ability and willingness of the PLH to promote the licensing objectives. Therefore a modification of the licence and a replacement of the DPS would not be a sufficient response. Accordingly the Committee concluded that revocation of the licence was the only appropriate step.
8. Notwithstanding this decision, the Committee wished to note that it had concerns about the way in which the Police had presented its written and CCTV evidence. The written evidence ran to more than 100 pages and was very difficult to read. In future, the Committee requests that the Police provide a more concise summary of the evidence on which it relies and one which is easier for busy committee members to read. The Committee also had concerns that the CCTV footage had been disclosed by the Police to an unauthorised third party, which was not acceptable. Finally, in the circumstances of this hearing, the Committee did not consider it was necessary to view the (at times) harrowing CCTV footage, given that the incidents had been described in detail in the written evidence and there was no challenge to that evidence from the PLH. In future, the Committee requests that the Police carefully consider what CCTV evidence (if any) is necessary to support its case.
9. There is a right of appeal against this decision. Any appeal should be made to the magistrates’ court within 21 days beginning with the day on which the appellant was notified of this decision.
27 October 2022
RESOLVED that under Section 100 (A) (4) of the Local Government Act1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that it involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 1 and 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12 (A) of the Act, as amended by the Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Access to Information) (Amendments) (England) Regulations 2006 and the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighed the public interest in disclosing the information:
4. Silks 177 – 181 Rushey Green Catford SE6 4BD
The following is a summary of the item considered in the closed part of the meeting.
4. Silks 177 – 181 Rushey Green Catford SE6 4BD
The premises licence was REVOKED.