A council in north London looks likely to become one of the first to use a new UK law to charge a levy on bars and clubs selling alcohol after midnight. The Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 allows a council to charge licensed premises open between midnight and 6am a levy, to help cover the cost of policing.
Islington Council says it has a “very serious late-night drinking problem” with crime, disorder and mess on its streets. Councillor Paul Convery said “We’ve got more late-night establishments per head of population than almost anywhere else in London and we just think we have to find ways of meeting the costs.”
Bar and club managers have complained that fees will unfairly increase costs. The amount charged per year will range from about £300 for a small bar to £4,440 for a large venue. Mr Convery said this and several other proposals were being considered to tackle Islington’s most troubled areas. A consultation will take place before a decision is made.
Elsewhere, nightclubs have voluntarily agreed to shut early in a bid to cut crime and anti-social behaviour. Venues in Norwich stopped selling alcohol after 4am from Friday, 3 August. Norfolk Police said the availability of alcohol into the early hours was seen as a key contribution to disorder. Norfolk Police figures show there have been 336 more crimes between 3am and 6am in the three-year period since clubs in Norwich have opened beyond 04:00, compared with the three-year period before it started. Norfolk police and Norwich City Council have been working with licensees to improve safety in the area.
Supt Paul Sanford, of Norfolk Police, said: “Since de-regulation through the Licensing Act in 2005, clubs in Norwich have opened beyond 4am and there has been a dramatic increase in alcohol related crime between 3am and 6am… Earlier closing will help to re-balance the resource demand for emergency services and city council services such as street cleaning.”