Clubs and local people working together

Muswell Hill. Photo credit: markhillary, FlickrHere’s my latest column for the Muswell Hill Flyer and the Highgate Handbook:

It must be horrible to have drunks vomit over your garden wall, throw estate agents signs into your front porch and to feel threatened if coming home in the dark alone. But that’s the experience of those who live near the clubs at the top of Muswell Hill – and many other places where the alcohol fuelled version of the night-time economy blossoms.

But what can actually be done about it? That really is the big question. It’s one posed by a group of residents who raised with me the constant noise and nuisance caused by drunken souls exiting from establishments near their homes.

There is a right for any of the responsible authorities (police, health and safety, environmental health, fire authority, safeguarding authority) to call for a review of an establishment’s license if there are serious problems of crime and disorder, public nuisance, public safety or protection of children from harm.

If the police are called on a regular basis to stop fights and violence, or serving underage drinkers and so on – then they can call in the license for review and it can be revoked. However, for the drip, drip, drip of local nuisance, vomit, noise, and general disturbance it is very, very difficult to demonstrate that matters are serious enough to justify a review. That’s all the more so when it often isn’t clear which club someone came out of and, in the absence of a police presence, it can be hard to prove the existence and severity of incidents.

The Muswell Hill and Fortis Green Residents’ Association had a public meeting recently at which the Safer Neighbourhood Teams, Haringey’s chief licensing officer, some of the local club owners – and residents – discussed these matters.

My Lib Dem colleague, Cllr Gail Engert speculated that the clubs should put a stamp on customers as they enter their club – so at least it could be established where they had come out of. It was also agreed at the meeting that residents should join the monthly ClubWatch group – which currently is just police and club operators. Working together must be one of the best ways forward.

But the over-arching problem is that since the ending of the requirement for licenses to be renewed each year, residents have lost their annual opportunity to voice their objections and recount their experiences.

I am hopeful that ClubWatch will be the practical and best way forward. But I will be dropping the appropriate Secretary of State a line to point out the very weak position that local people find themselves in and asking what the Government proposes to do to strengthen their hand.

0 thoughts on “Clubs and local people working together

  1. “Drunk and disorderly” is a criminal offence. Those who vomit or fight in the street,and those who destroy property and assault passers by are therefore criminals.No new legislation is needed,no need to alter closing times or stop supermarkets from selling alcohol. All that is needed is for the POLICE to do their duty and arrest those who offend, and for the COURTS to impose jail sentences on the culprits.
    If this happened it would be “problem solved “!

  2. Rather than talking about revoking licenses, how about trying to solve the problems? Closing a club does not mean those people will stay home, it just means they’ll go to a different club – certainly what this group of residents wants, but then you’ll just have a different group suffering for it. Prohibition does not work. Find the causes, address the issues.

  3. The “cause” of criminal drunken behaviour is simply that those who offend can get away with it !

  4. I would honestly avoid asking clubs to put a stamp on customers as they enter clubs. It doesn’t sound right and not too ‘liberal’. A bit more police on the street would help.

  5. My wife is from Colombia and she is appalled by the behaviour of drunken people here.
    In Colombia police patrol streets and bars–keeping a low profile–constantly and never did I see such behaviour amongst young Colombians.
    Some of us older people will remember we used to have those people called police patroling our streets–remember?
    Perhaps this government thinks poice street patrols are offensive to drunks and criminals.
    Thank heavens we have the local Libdems to speak for us.

  6. clubs should not be in residentiol areas or at least should be restricted to main roads near shops only.if you can get fined for dropping a fag why is this stuff tolerated , why becouse usually the law abiding person is a soft target. these nits are getting drunk or drugged and shooting each other when not vomiting ect. uncivilized folk should not be foisted on the rest of us.

  7. Despite living a couple of miles away from any club, and over a mile from the only bar in the area that is the scene of club-like behaviour (but closes before midnight), in the streets here we get the problems that you describe. And we get shop and phone box and bus shelter glass smashed. Policing is the first line answer. (I’m not anywhere near Haringey.)
    I came across a constable and 2 PCSOs trying and failing to put up a safer cycling 3-sided sign – it would not clamp around the lamppost – a waste of police time – a contractor should have been doing that job. Symptomatic of inefficiency.

  8. I don’t say hang them or flog them but I do say arrest them and throw them in the cells if the are drunk and disorderly.I only ask the police and courts too enforce the existing laws as that is what they are PAID to do !

  9. What judicial system?
    We have none.
    Last weeks news told you that.
    When judges allow people to seriously assault others and get
    away with it for a few hours community service, todays justice stinks.
    Longer opening hours has extended the time that communities
    have to put up with the noise of people shouting and swearing for longer.
    When pubs closed for 12:00 at least after half an hour we got some sleep.
    Now noise goes on till 3 and 4am.
    Wheres the police when you need them? In city and town centres
    patrolling the shopping precincts and high streets.
    I wish I had a pound for every can and bottle ive picked up from in the garden.
    I could go on holiday twice a year.
    Bring back proper sentencing.