ALMR slams police approach to trade

By Ewan Turney

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags The police Sting

Police condemned for turning away from dialogue, opposing extended hours and seeking to close pubs Trade chief Alex Salussolia has taken a huge swipe...

Police condemned for turning away from dialogue, opposing extended hours and seeking to close pubs

Trade chief Alex Salussolia has taken a huge swipe at the police, claiming they have turned their backs on the partnership approach and extended hours.

Salussolia, chairman of the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers, fears that issues can no longer be resolved through dialogue because police are under pressure to close pubs. He believes there is a national policy in place to oppose Temporary Event Notices and push for polycarbonate glasses.

"The police will be offended, but our industry is being asked to take a partnership approach to the many challenges facing us," said Salussolia, also managing director of Glendola Leisure.

"It takes two to tango and you don't want a partner that treads on your toes."

He is also concerned that the summer sting campaign has the "avowed intention of closing pubs down".

Salissolia's attack was back-ed by National Association of Licensed House Managers president Dave Daly.

"Police partnership in some areas is a myth. It has been replaced by policing through fear. Managers in town centres are frightened. They have got to back-off now as people's jobs and livelihoods are at stake," said Daly.

Paul Wigham, boss of Bar Group, which operates 32 south-east England sites, slammed police for acting in a "heavy-handed" manner.

"They come at the worst time - mid-evening on Friday or Saturday - and want to look through absolutely everything," he said.

"One even wanted to know when we would be redecorating, what our kitchen schedules were and wanted us to put a lock on our office door.

"That is the level of detail they are going to. It is the thin end of the wedge and will only get worse."

Interpub chief executive Keith Knowles added: "We are in a time of flux when police and the authorities are testing out new powers and have used them inappropriately in some cases.

"They can't pick up a phone for a chat any more. But it is equally our responsibility to help build that relationship."

However, Lincolnshire-based operator Michael Kheng of Kurnia Leisure said the partnership approach was working in some areas.

Kheng has let police take drug-test swabs at his Kai bar in Louth and offered staff a £5 reward for seizing fake ID.

"In Lincolnshire things are going well and police are trying to work with premises.

"They have come down heavily on problem premises but that is right in my view. We have built up a good relationship and that is good for both sides," he said.

l Push for plastic - p2

l Police sting campaign - p3

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