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Police distance themselves from Worthing nightlife group
Police have withdrawn support for a group representing a town’s nightclub and pub owners over allegations it made in a letter defending one of its group members.
Eight members of the group, which represents more than 30 establishments in the town, sent identical letters to the committee for the licence review of the Liquid Lounge and The Light Bar held last week.
It accused Sussex Police of “treacherous behaviour” for launching a licence review without advanced warning, which the letter claimed undermined the group’s trust in the police and would discourage publicans from reporting future incidents.
However, Sussex Police said that evidence shown to the committee made it clear the force had given the venue’s owners numerous warnings following dozens of serious incidents occurring in or around the premises in Chatsworth Road over the last 18 months.
The force said that they are concerned where the interests of the group lie and had decided to withdraw support after “careful consideration”.
The move will mean police officers will no longer attend Worthing Pubwatch meetings or provide intelligence to the group.
Jean Irving, Sussex Police’s licensing and public safety manager, said: “It is disappointing that we are left with no option but to withdraw our support to Worthing Pubwatch, having previously had a good working relationship with them.
“It concerns us that the implication within the letter is that licensed premises will consider not reporting incidents which take place at their premises.
“Not only would this fail to promote the licensing objectives which form the basis of their licences, but it would also be failing in their duty of care to the public.”
Chief Inspector Jo Banks, district commander of Adur and Worthing, said: “This is not a decision that has been taken lightly and has been done with my full support.”
Worthing Pubwatch chair Diane Guest, who has held the role since 2001, said she was disappointed with the decision.
Debbie Guest, who runs the Sandwitch Bar in Rowlands Road, Worthing, but who had previously worked in the pub trade for more than 15 years, said she was ‘lost for words’.
Worthing Pubwatch agreed to adjourn their monthly meeting on Tuesday afternoon for two weeks, giving members more time to consider the police’s action and the group will also be seeking advice from the national Pubwatch scheme.
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