Police receive new pub powers
New powers have been introduced by Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland, which allow police to close pubs and clubs when there is disorder.
Monday, 10 December 2012
The new legislation allows a senior PSNI officer to close specific licensed premises, or a private members club, where unrest is occurring on the premises or in the vicinity of the establishment.
The new powers also enable a court to order licensed premises, or private members clubs, in an area of unrest or expected disorder to close for up to 24 hours.
Mr McCausland said that he hoped the powers never have to be used.
"As a rule, I know that the Police would prefer to prevent crime rather than to have to deal with its consequences.
"Disorder in pubs and clubs puts a strain on our emergency services and causes distress for those living in the vicinity," he added.
"I expect these new powers to deter anti-social behaviour in and outside pubs and clubs and help ensure the licensee runs an orderly house.
"I expect closure will only be used as a last resort".
Assistant Chief Constable George Hamilton has welcomed the new closure powers.
"These powers will allow police to make an application to a court for the closure of licensed premises or registered clubs in any area where disorder is occurring or expected, obviously police will use these powers sparingly and only where necessary in order to protect public safety.
"They also give police the power to make a closure order in respect of a single licensed premises or registered club again in the interests of public safety."
ACC George Hamilton acknowledged that the closure of any premises is "a significant step" and for that reason these powers will be used as "a last resort" and when all other options have been exhausted.
"The Police Service continually works in partnership with a wide range of organisations to assist in the process of creating a safe night time economy across all of Northern Ireland and will continue to do so."