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'Nightclubs need to pay for police' says force commissioner
LATE-night bars, restaurants and nightclubs should pay towards policing and clean-up costs, Dorset’s Police and Crime Commissioner has said.
Martyn Underhill spoke of his “frustration” at the fact that Bournemouth, Poole and Dorset councils had all rejected the idea of making late-night businesses contribute to the costs of policing and cleaning-up the streets.
And he said he was going to “come out fighting” to bring late-night levies to Dorset – a move he claims will generate £140,000 extra revenue for the police.
“I liken it to the football club,” he said. “AFC Bournemouth pays the police to police Bournemouth games, so why aren’t late night businesses doing the same?
“There’s a tool there that not one authority has chosen to use. I get very frustrated by it.
“It would give me £140,000 of licensed trade money that I could use to make Dorset safer. I’m going to come out fighting now. We need to bring late-night levies to Dorset, we need it to happen.”
Bournemouth, with the largest concentration of bars and nightclubs, is the obvious choice to introduce a late-night levy. The council has previously considered the option but decided against it, saying it did not want to add extra financial pressure on businesses in the town.
Mr Underhill said: “I do get the other side of the argument. Bournemouth council is very good at generating business, they want to have a successful flourishing town and they are concerned that if they start imposing a levy, businesses could go to the wall.
“But it’s about time I came out and stated my view – I need extra resources to police these problems. It’s about time we had a mature debate about this.”
No further action
Bournemouth council told the Echo it did not plan to take any further action with regard to late night levies.
They said crime was decreasing in the town and Bournemouth had been recognised for its success by retaining the Purple Flag for its management of the night-time economy for the third-year running. They added that late-night levies would cover the entire borough and affect the hotel sector.
Bill Cotton, executive director for environment and economy, said: “The council recognises the important of the night-time economy to the overall success of the town’s economy and growth.
“We are working in partnership with all businesses in the sector and the police to maintain and develop the town as a place where everybody really does feel safe and welcome after dark.”
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