RADICAL measures to tackle drunken yobs in Weymouth by charging late night bars or forcing them to call time look set to be ruled out this summer – because things are getting better.
The Late Night Levy (LNL) and Early Morning Restriction Orders (EMRO) are powers available to Weymouth and Portland Borough Council as the local licensing authority to deal with problems in the ‘night time economy’.
But there is no evidence to suggest measures should be implemented, councillors will be told at a meeting today.
This is because there has been a decline in violence, there are no major problems with noise and a voluntary agreement with late-night venues to stop serving alcohol earlier appears to be a success.
The levy is a local power enabling authorities to raise a contribution for late-night alcohol suppliers towards the extra policing needed. Funds are split between the council and the police.
The EMRO allows councils to prohibit the sale of alcohol for a specified time between midnight and 6am in the whole or part of its area.
The borough council’s licensing committee decided not to use the powers last year but agreed to review it annually.
A report by head of policing locally, Inspector Pete Browning, is not seeking to impose an EMRO, because the force wants to progress a voluntary agreement with venues to stop the sale of alcohol earlier.
Bars agreed in January to cut this time from 7am to 5am and it was reported in the Echo last month this had helped to reduce early morning anti-social behaviour.
Insp Browning said he would rather negotiate further reductions than impose a restriction.
He adds that authorities should be careful what they impose on businesses considering the economic climate and has concerns about revellers leaving venues at the same time.
He also objects to the levy proposal as it would be difficult to introduce and it would be better to wait for feedback on the two pilots operating nationally.
The committee will also be told that data from Public Health Dorset shows there has been a ‘small but steady decrease’ in assaults in Weymouth since 2012.
Environmental health teams report that there are ‘no substantiated noise nuisance issues from licensed premises between midnight and 6am’.
The report adds: “Licensed premises could suffer financial losses from reduced trade if an EMRO is implemented.
“Late night trading premises would face additional annual payments, on average of £768 if a levy was implemented.”
Chairman of Weymouth Pubwatch Keith Treggiden said: “We stand by what the police are saying on this and believe it’s much better to have a voluntary scheme than to have powers imposed upon us.
“We have been working with the police and believe that’s key in taking things forward.”
He added that one issue which should be looked at was laying on buses earlier in the morning to take revellers home from town.