Chichester nightclub may close following violence

Police have asked for a popular nightspot near Chichester to be closed temporarily following an increase in the number of serious assaults.

Chief Inspector Ali Darge is asking that Thursdays Nightclub in Drayton Lane be shut for a minimum of six weeks so new procedures can be put in place.

Police say since December 2009 there has been an increase in violent crime offences, both inside and outside the club, with officers attending 12 incidents since January this year.

These include eight assaults, with three resulting in customers receiving injuries from glass bottles.

In a licensing review application submitted to Chichester District Council, police allege on another occasion a customer who was ejected from the club by doorstaff received severe head injuries amounting to grievous bodily harm.

The customer had been involved in an assault inside the club and was later found to have an offensive weapon.

In addition, police say emergency services have had to deal with drunken nightclubbers, drunk and disorderly behaviour from people leaving the club and criminal damage caused.

Officers say Thursdays was identified as having recorded the highest level of incidents within Chichester district.

The force said it had made ‘exhaustive efforts’ to support and offer guidance, including organising a number of meetings with the club’s management, but it had failed to stem the growing number of assaults.

It said the licensing objectives promoting public safety and the prevention of crime and disorder were being undermined by the recent increase in violent assaults.

“Sussex Police have no confidence in the ability of the designated premises supervisor to promote the licensing objectives and are gravely concerned there has been a systematic failure to ensure these premises are run safely and in accordance with the Licensing Act 2003,” said the report.

In a meeting on April 9 last year between club management, police and members of the district council’s licensing department, managers were asked to contact the police when an assault took place on the premises. Police said early intervention by officers increased the chances of the matter being successfully investigated and resolved.

It said that since April 2009 there was evidence to suggest there had been a failure to report crimes inside the club, which had led to the loss of evidence and the collapse of a number of investigations.

Police have now called for the licence to be suspended so a new designated premises supervisor and door team can be appointed and current policies and procedures be reviewed.

“Furthermore, a suspension will act as a deterrent to this premises, giving a clear indication the licensing authority will not tolerate these levels of crime and disorder,” said police.

Owner of the premises and the holder of the premises licence, William Hardwicke 2000 Limited said: “The company is aware of the application to Chichester District Council for the licence to be reviewed.

“It is obviously a matter they are not treating lightly and are working with the authorities to resolve the difficulties.

“For the moment they have no further comment to make other than they await the outcome of the hearing, which is due on Thursday, July 28.”