GRANTING a premises licence to a convenience store in Bournemouth town centre would ‘undermine efforts to reduce crime in the area’, warn the police.

Dorset Police said it is ‘unsupportive’ of the application for a premises licence at Westover Express in Westover Road.

The force’s licensing officer Vanessa Rosales said the area already experiences a ‘disproportionate number of street drinkers, antisocial behaviour and crime and disorder’ which ‘negatively impacts the local community’ and ‘increases demand on police resources’.

Mrs Elina Kadir, on behalf of Westover Express, had applied for permission to sell alcohol at the shop between 8am and 11pm daily.

The application received representations from Dorset Police and Trading Standards, but evidence given by Trading Standards was never made public.

BCP Council’s licensing sub-committee discussed the proposal at a meeting on June 25.

Members were presented with a statement from Philip Day, in which he responded to the representations on behalf of the applicant.

He claimed there were ‘a number of significant contradictions’ in the submissions made by the police, noting PC Gryba reported an increase in street drinkers, beggars, rough sleepers and shoplifters, while sergeant Gosling said ‘the level of reporting has reduced significantly’.

Mr Day asked sergeant Gosling at the meeting: “I’m inviting you to point me to specific evidence as to what the starting point is.

"How bad is it, this bit of Westover Road? It’s not really that bad, is it?”

Sergeant Gosling responded: “Progress is being made and it’s really good. Through the partnership, working with the local authority and the town team, we are making really good progress with regards to improving the area, reducing the levels of crime and disorder.

“But as I stipulated at the start there is a lot more to be done, and it’s our feeling that this would undermine those efforts significantly.”

Mr Day also noted a premises licence was recently granted for Asda Express in Bath Road, and asked sergeant Gosling whether this had caused issues.

Sergeant Gosling responded: “I’d like to focus on this premises licence application and assess each one on its merits."

At the time of writing, on June 28, a decision had not been made on the licence application.