Mudcat Café message #1216121 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #70681   Message #1216121
Posted By: GUEST,Hamish Birchall
29-Jun-04 - 08:08 AM
Thread Name: A little more news on Licensing
Subject: RE: A little more news on Licensing
This is a response to Richard P's spurious arguments concerning televised sport in bars and 'regulated entertainment'.

Richard's blend of half-truth, misinformation and obfuscation has the depressingly familiar ring of a civil servant from the DCMS entertainment licensing branch. Sorry Richard, but you sound to me like a government lackey. How much are they paying you?

You focus on 'hooligans', when there need be no hooligans present in bars for the situation to become inconsistent with the licensing objectives. What about the risk of overcrowding and noise nuisance - or are these risks already covered by separate legislation?

You should at least get your facts straight first. You say (in point 2) that 'present licensing law is no practical help at all' in dealing with offensive behaviour. Wrong. Under s.172 of the Licensing Act 1964 licensees commit an offence if they sell alcohol to 'drunken persons'. They also commit an offence if they allow 'violent, quarrelsome or riotous conduct' on the premises. Under the same Act, the police can instigate a review of a justices on-licence if there is a serious problem.

You imply that police power of immediate closure of licensed premises is an innovation of the new licensing laws. Wrong again. Since December 2001 the police have had that power under separate legislation.

And of course, as far as noise nuisance is concerned, again under separate legislation, for more than 10 years local authorities have had the power to seize noisy equipment immediately, and/or to issue anticipatory noise abatement notices.

In order to impose licence conditions (such as the presence of a door supervisor) under the new licensing law, local authorities must first have received 'relevant representations', i.e. from the police, fire service, other 'responsible authorities', or from local residents. But since broadcast entertainment is not a 'regulated entertainment' it would not be listed on an operating schedule submitted from an entirely new venue. So, neither the police or anyone else would be in a position to make a 'relevant representation' about the possible risk to residential amenity of, say, big screen broadcasts of major football matches in that premises.

As you point out, however, steps to regulate what may turn out to be a very troublesome venue would have to be taken reactively.

But here we are back with perverse government logic: dramatically increase the pre-emptive regulation through licensing of live music - even though no evidence of any need for increased regulation was ever provided. But where there is already abundant evidence of a serious problem associated with big screens in pubs, deal with that reactively.

No matter which way you look at it, Richard, there is no coherent rationale that can explain criminalising the provision of a piano in a bar unless licensed, but exempting the provision of big screen broadcast entertainment in the same premises.

You'll never convince musicians, or anyone else, otherwise.