Licensing Act 2003 Subcommittee Wirral Council 22/2/2012 Part 2 North Star, 294 Laird Street, Birkenhead, CH41 8ER

The meeting resumed after lunch with the same panel (Cllr Bob Wilkins (Chair), Cllr Eddie Boult and Cllr Steve Niblock) and officers as before, with three members of the public/press, a solicitor and two people involved with the licence. The report on this agenda item can be found here.

Cllr Bob Wilkins welcomed people to the hearing, introduced himself and the panel and asked officers, the police and others to introduce themselves. Four officers present earlier for part one of the meeting introduced themselves. The two police officers stayed the same. Three others introduced themselves including Chris Johnson (solicitor), ????? ????? and another ????? ?????.

The Chair, Cllr Wilkins asked if they could confirm the documentation sent out had been received?

Margaret O’Donnell said they had additional documentation circulated to councillors and to the other parties, which was additional documentation.

The Sergeant said the late documentation was in relation to an arrest yesterday. There was an NG15 form regarding a ??????? ??? and a copy of the interview.

Cllr Niblock confirmed he had it. Cllr Bob Wilkins said if there was any additional documentation to present or whether they wished to call extra witnesses?

The Police said they would not at this moment in time.

Cllr Wilkins asked the police to present their case, then there would be the opportunity to ask questions. The representative of the licence holders would get their chance to put across their case, followed by questions. They would proceed and hear views, and make their decision in accordance with the statement of Licensing Policy and statutory guidance and the four licensing objectives which were preventing crime and disorder, public safety, the prevention of public nuisance and the protection of children from harm.

Margaret O’Donnell outlined details of the conditions on the licence, which was for sale of alcohol, recorded music and dancing seven days a week 11am to 11pm with some non-standard times involving Good Friday and Christmas Day regarding the sale of alcohol.

She said they may take one or more of the following steps which included modifying the conditions, removing the Designated Premises Supervisor, suspending the licence for a period of up to three months, revoking the licence and taking no action.

Cllr Steve Niblock asked the police about the anonymous letter and why it wasn’t seen as vexatious as it was anonymous?

The police sergeant explained that the anonymous letter had arrived in January 2012, this was after the event and the premises had been raided. He said the letter ??????? and came in after the event. He said he accepted it was anonymous and received after the ?????. He said it was unidentified.

The Chair Cllr Bob Wilkins asked Sergeant Jenkins of the Police to speak first.

Sgt Jenkins thanked members of the panel. He said the Premises Licence Holder for these premises is one John Joseph Diable, but recently one of his business partners, Mr Wharton had made an application to be the Premises Licence Holder of these premises. The Designated Premises Supervisor was Christopher Ridgeway Jones and he’s here today.

The Chair, Cllr Bob Wilkins asked if John Joseph was the Designated Premises Supervisor or Christopher Ridgeway Jones?

Ken Abraham, legal adviser to the panel said to clarify that it was Mr. Wilson who was here and had applied to be Premises Licence Holder, not Mr. Wharton. He asked Sergeant Jenkins to clarify what he’d said.

Sergeant Jenkins apologised for referring to Mr. Wilson as Mr. Wharton. “You’re Mr. Wharton?”. He apologised again. He said Chris Ridgeway Jones, owned it with his wife Mary. On the evening of the ??rd ?????, officers of the Wirral Licensing Unit and Tactical Team, attended the North Star public house in Birkenhead in an ongoing licensing operation.

He continued by stating that it was an ongoing licensing operation, taking place on that evening and several licensed premises were scheduled to be visited. He said a police ??? unit and a ????? ??? also accompanied the officers.

On entering the premises, officers noticed that it was extremely ????, he spoke with the ??? for ???. He formed the opinion that ??? appeared ???? and when asked about ???, he looked ????. He was asked to ???? the location of the ??? and stated it was in the ????. Officers entered the ???? where they found the ??? between ???? ???? which was ???? in ????. There was no ??? for it, on the ??? and the officers believed that the ???? had been used to ????. “I did send some photographs down, but I do appreciate they are of poor quality. I’ve had a problem with my printer today, in order to print some colour photographs off. But that appears is the situation that we found.”

He handed out the photos.

Margaret asked if ????? had seen these?

????? answered ???.

Sgt Jenkins continued, “When ????? was ????? these, he stated that he ????? ????? the ???? of ??? ???? and that he ???? ???? for ???? ??? ??? ??? ???? ????. He was informed at that the time that he was to be arrested on suspicion of the theft of gas and that’s what subsequently happened.”

He said “As you can see there are no ????? or ???? ??? ??? ??? there and it is ???? ?? ??? ??? ???. The ???? from ??? ??? attended. He said that the ???? was ????? and that ??? ??? ??? ??? was both ???? and that no ???? or ???? ???? ???? ?? ???? to the ??? ???? ??? ??? ??? ????. ”

“The public house was then closed due to ???? ????. The ???? was ???? and the ??? ???? to the ???? was ????. The owner of the premises, ???? ???? then arrived at the premises, he wanted to ????. When ???? about the ???? ????, he stated he’d been ????? called ??? ??? and that the former ???, one ???? ??? and a former ???. ???? ???? was then arrested on suspicion of the ??? and he was then conveyed to the Custody Suite in Birkenhead. ”

“From what we understand, ???? was a former ???? ??? of ??? ???. We believe that the ???? of ???? had ????. ???? had ???? ???? ???? ???? and ???? ???? ??? to ??? ???? on the ???? ???. Bearing in mind we’re now on the **rd of *******.”

“You must also give note that on the 3rd October 2011 Constable Rita Jones of the Police Licensing Unit had served a section 19 closure order on the premises, which had been trading since the 27th September 2011 and that the then ???? that ?????, that person was ???? ???. A ??? ???? pertaining to the ???? ?? ? ???? had been ???? to the ???? ???. ”

“The closure order was rescinded on the 4th October 2011, once the ???? ???? had ???? ????. Once the issues of ??? had been addressed, the police ??? ???, had ???? in the ?????? that a ???, that a ???? that was ???? on the premises was ???? ??? ?? ???? ????. This ??? was duly arrested for being in possession of a controlled drug, namely ?????? and ??? too was arrested and charged with the offence. ”

“On the 3rd December 2011, a **** was made that **** were being **** on the premises. On the 22/2/2011 a ****** was **** in the *** **** the **** ****. Seven people were arrested in connection with this *****, including *** ***. No **** evidence was **** which could positively **** any of the *** people arrested. ”

“**** **** the premises and **** it out to an associate **** ****. The **** *** *** *** ***, which was **** was estimated to be £***** to £*****. He ***** police with a ***** on **** and he ***** his right to ***** when ****. The Crown Prosecution Service said the ***** were *****, but that **** evidence to bring a prosecution was not available. The police reference number is what is stated there. ”

Sgt Jenkins said he would take the Crown Prosecution Service file as ****, as the panel could peruse it without him needing to refer to it. He said he could quote from it if you wish me to. It should be. It’s an MG3.

Ken Abraham asked about the page number?

Cllr Bob Wilkins said page 26, Cllr Steve Niblock confirmed it was page 26 in the recent one.

The police continued that on the 19/11/2010 there had been a arrest for an assault which was on police records. There had been also in 2010 two women fighting in street, who were both arrested on suspicion of being drunk and disorderly.

There was the alleged issue of ***** ****, which in his view compromised the licensing objective of preventing crime and disorder and the safety of public. The detained person had been released on bail pending further enquiries and he confirmed that a criminal investigation was ongoing and he appreciated it was not within the remit of the panel to prejudge it. The persons responsible in his view could not have **** to ***** **** as it was ****. He referred to **** and ****. The police had ***** the premises for a ****.

A PACE ***** of the **** which was authorised as a result of the *** which resulted in four males being arrested. He draw the panel’s attention to the **** of *** ***. On the night we had ***** make **** ***. **** **** is a **** **** officer. He confirms that **** *** **** the **** **** with a *** *** of **** on the */*/20**. No **** has been **** since ****. ****.

Over the course of the past few days **** *** has actually been arrested. He has **** **** *** *** ***. If you come to the MG15, *** *** was interviewed at **** hours and it took him *** minutes by Constable *** at the **** **** ***. *** was cautioned and the caution was explained. *** was asked ****. **** ****.

***. The **** had gone out in error. To explain ***. ***. That **** should be ***** with. We*** clear that **** *** and the **** is that ****. There *** no doubt ****. The premises is owned by *** ****, showing that he is the leaseholder. The land belongs to the Council. He leases it from the Council.

Sgt Jenkins said he believed these premises were involved in alleged criminal activity. A number of people have been arrested. Although six people were arrested, none of these people were charged. He referred to the alleged criminal offence currently under investigation.

He said the police can’t go into pubs on a regular basis, as there are 1,300 licensed premises on the Wirral and they only have a small team. He said premises were within the control of the Premises Licence Holder, whoever they appointed as Designated Premises Supervisor. He advocated revoking the licence, as he felt conditions wouldn’t be effective. He asked the panel to seriously consider revocation.

???? and **** = information removed because it’s an active criminal investigation.

For more information on this story you can read Liam Murphy’s version in the Liverpool Echo

Sustainable Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee 20/10/2011 Part 1 (PACSPE call in)

The agenda and reports for the meeting can be found here.

Apologies
Cllr Stuart Wittingham substituted by Cllr Denise Roberts
Cllr Pat Hackett substituted by Cllr Ron Abbey

Present:
Conservative councillors
Cllr John Hale (Chair)
Cllr Don McCubbin (Vice-Chair)
Cllr Steve Williams
Cllr Adam Sykes

Labour councillors
Cllr Denise Roberts (substitute for Cllr Stuart Wittingham)
Cllr Ron Abbey (substitute for Cllr Pat Hackett)
Cllr Jerry Williams
Cllr Chris Jones
Cllr Joe Walsh

Liberal Democrat councillor
Cllr Bob Wilkins

Labour Cabinet member in attendance (who is not part of the Sustainable Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee)
Cllr Chris Meaden (Cabinet Member for Culture, Tourism and Leisure)

The Chair, Cllr John Hale welcomed people to the meeting. Something about the Serious Fraud Office was mentioned and a wish to “close without session”.

Cllr Ron Abbey suggested ten minutes of the meeting in closed session.

Cllr John Hale mentioned something about the press and an inquiry being another matter.

The legal advisor to the committee said it had been brought to Wirral Council’s attention, but the level of information was limited. He appreciated the Labour councillor’s suggestion.

Cllr Bob Wilkins said he failed to see the evidence, but agreed with the Labour councillors to hold it in closed session for ten minutes.
Cllr John Hale said as it was a majority view of the committee, that press and public would have to leave until they were invited back in.

Due to the large numbers of people present it took some time for the room to clear. Some people went home, others waited in the lobby to go back into the meeting.

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In the interests of openness, John Brace lives opposite Bidston Hill which is covered by the PACSPE contract.

Standards Committee 29/9/2011 Part 10

Cllr John Salter said he would disagree for the first time [with the Deputy Mayor Cllr Gerry Ellis], he called regularly and calls were answered within three to four seconds. He though they were always excellent, but his local library was a bit untidy.

Cllr Dave Mitchell said that his local library was brilliant.
Cllr John Salter said he had a passport.
Cllr Bob Wilkins asked a question about mystery shoppers.
Malcolm Flanagan said their queries could not be person specific and they couldn’t make up a hole in the road. They were testing to see if they knew the information or were looking at the information. The mystery shoppers had the information in front of them.
Cllr Chris Blakeley said he agreed with [Cllr] John [Salter] and [Deputy Mayor Cllr] Gerry [Ellis] that it was a mixed bag. Streetscene three weeks ago had answered within three minutes. He said he thought it was a good service 90% of the time and bad service 10% of the time.
Stella Elliott asked about accessibility about disability, how was this evidenced?
Malcolm Flanagan said there was a minimum standard but it keeps being raised. They figured out which was worst and spoke to Asset Management. The One Stop Shops and libraries in some cases required minor adjustments. However the age of the buildings was a problem. He said all were at a minimum standard.
Cllr Pat Williams said it would be good to have more information.
The Chair Brian Cummings said the report was noted.

Standards Committee 29/9/2011 Part 8

Cllr Pat Williams said she was interested if Bill Norman had talked to the Chief Executive and that [the staffing issue] was really an Employment and Appointments issue, if there were ongoing pressures they should be made aware.

Cllr Dave Mitchell said there would be a saving to the authority, if the correct legal services were there in the first place.

Cllr Chris Blakeley said he would move 1 to 5 and add A, B and C. He would take out the three bullet points. He wanted to “set on record” that he wanted “radical change”.

Ken Harrison (Vice-Chair) said there were five outstanding complaints, from 2009 and the last from this year to fit in.

Cllr Chris Blakeley said how would they sit in the framework?

Ken Harrison (Vice-Chair) said some were over two years old and in urgent need of attention.

Cllr Bob Wilkins asked if he had deleted things after 5?

Cllr Chris Blakeley said he was adding 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 followed by A, B and C.

The Chair, Brian Cummings mentioned the Head of Law.

Cllr Chris Blakeley referred to A, B and C from the recommendation.

The Chair said this had started as an asset management problem, there had been extenuating circumstances and he had been put in charge which meant that something gives. He though the protocol was fine.

Cllr Chris Blakeley referred to 1 to 5 and the protocol asking about D?

Cllr John Salter mentioned 1 to 5 and A, B and C plus D to monitor over twelve months.

Surjit Tour said there would be an update to future meetings on monitoring progress.

Cllr Chris Blakeley referred to 1 to 5, followed by A, B and C from the original recommendation.

It was agreed.

Standards Committee 29/9/2011 Part 7

Cllr Dave Mitchell said at the original meeting it had been deferred because of the Localism Bill. He accepted the recommendations and would monitor it closely. He could see the reason behind the question about where it would go to if it was out of Bill [Norman]’s hands. He said legal could take 2 1/2 hours to explain why.

Stella Elliott asked about timescales compared to those used by the Local Government Ombudsman report into complaints investigation.

Surjit Tour said they were investigated within 12 weeks. Standards for England investigated within six months. The reasons for slippage were justifiable. There was a clear timetable, however if it was not possible to adhere to they would state why there had been slippage.

Cllr Bob Wilkins said a benchmark and summary would be helpful regarding judgement in the future. However they should adopt the protocol and timescales which would improve the results.

Cllr Chris Blakeley said he accepted the protocol, but how would existing complaints be dealt with? Others had just drifted along.

Surjit Tour said some cases would be assimilated into the framework, the timetable would ensure they were dealt with promptly.

Cllr Les Rowlands said he agreed with the comments and accepted the protocol as a step forward. However he had worries about the excuses of falling behind due to lack of staff. He saw the protocol as the way forward, but how would they step up?

Surjit Tour said they were conducting a review in the Law, Human Resources and Asset Management department. Introduction of the Key Resource Indicators System (KRIS) management system should help. He was confident in the level of resources moving forward. Matters would progress in a timely fashion and the deadlines would be translated into practice.