Justice Bill wording victory

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The trade has won a partial victory in its battle for changes to the Criminal Justice and Police Bill.The final version of the bill includes a...

The trade has won a partial victory in its battle for changes to the Criminal Justice and Police Bill.

The final version of the bill includes a last-minute amendment to the section relating to police powers to close problem pubs on the spot.

The original proposals referred to the police having powers to close a pub on the spot if there was disorder in or "in the vicinity of" the outlet.

Trade leaders objected to the wording, claiming it could lead to unfair closure orders based on incidents occurring in the streets around a pub over which the licensee had no control.

The final draft of the bill includes an amendment which states that police should make sure such incidents are "related to" the pub in question.

Tony Payne, chief executive of the Federation of Licensed Victuallers Associations, said: "This is a significant step forward. We had concerns about the police powers, and in particular that licensees could end up getting the blame for incidents that happen near their outlets but have nothing to do with the pub."

But he added that there is still concern within the trade over how the bill will be implemented. The incoming Home Secretary after the election, rumoured to be David Blunkett, is likely to introduce it as one of the first acts in his new post.

Trade leaders opposed the bill, which included some elements of the original licensing reform proposals. They claimed the issue would have been better tackled as part of the general reform of licensing.

Related topics: Professional Services & Utilities

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