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Owners of Inside Out, in Darlington, reject police 'violence' claims at licence review
THE operators of a nightclub have rejected claims that the venue has ‘unacceptably high’ levels of crime and disorder, amid a review to decide whether its licence should be suspended.
Inside Out, in Beaumont Street, Darlington, was brought to a licence review by Durham Police after concern was raised about the number of assaults and incidents of disorder at the club in the last 18 months.
Representatives for Inside Out, the only venue in Darlington with a 4am licence, claim the police statistics do not show the true picture and that disorder has dropped at the venue since changes were made in April.
The review by Darlington Borough Council’s licensing sub-committee heard that Durham Police wish to see a reduction of the licensed hours to 2.30am, the closing hour reduced to 3am and the suspension of its licence for six weeks.
Sergeant Tim Robson, from the force’s alcohol harm reduction unit, said he felt the number of incidents at the club was too high.
Police logs showed that between February 2012 and May 2013 there were 155 incidents recorded at or near Inside Out.
Sgt Robson said: “Some of them, the assaults are quite nasty. There were 22 assaults against the person, which is an unacceptably high figure to be associated with the premises.
“One assault is too many but numerous assaults are a grave concern.”
Sgt Robson said most incidents at the club were logged after 2am and 3am, showing the need for a reduction in operating hours. Charles Holland, for licence holder Easteye Limited, pointed out that the 155 incidents recorded included some that were ‘positive’, such as catching drug dealers.
The 155 incidents also included reports of mobile phones being stolen, lost property, duplicate reports and false allegations against staff.
Mr Holland said: “The door staff are doing their job by catching drug dealers, which is a good thing, but that is being lumped in with the bad incidents.
“When the club is being criticised for an increase in the number of incidents, then it has to be made clear that not all incidents shown are negative.”
Mr Holland argued that if positive incidents and unsubstantiated allegations were removed from the logs, the number of incidents at Inside Out had not increased since Durham Police began its review of the venue.
General manager Dean Vasey said that after the review process started, the club management had made several changes to its processes, which he felt were successful.
He also talked about the club’s strict admissions policy, which he said could cause some problems.
He added: “There are a few incidents of violence, mostly outside the premises. The door policy does cause some problems but I’d rather the trouble was at the door than inside.”
The licensing hearing will continue tomorrow (Tuesday, September 24).
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