Doncaster licensee succeeds in changing council email policy

By Ellie Bothwell

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags South yorkshire police Data protection act License

Landlord Ryan Morling is now lobbying for a change in CCTV conditions on licences
Landlord Ryan Morling is now lobbying for a change in CCTV conditions on licences
A South Yorkshire licensee has forced a local authority to change its policy regarding emails being used as evidence in licensing hearings, after he criticised that his privacy had been “compromised”.

Ryan Morling, landlord of the Woodlands Rhinos Club in Doncaster, slammed Doncaster Council in September when email discussions with police, which he said were “heated” and “emotional” and “never intended for the hearing”, were used as evidence as part of his application for a new premises licence without his content. He was seeking to authorise regulated entertainment and the sale of alcohol on and off the premises.

After issuing a formal complaint and lobbying for a change in the authority’s policy, Doncaster Council and South Yorkshire Police have agreed to inform licence applicants in advance that emails and communications may be used as evidence should the application go to a hearing.

Change in policy

Benita Mumby, licensing unit manager at Attercliffe police, confirmed the change in policy and said she has advised that it is brought in with immediate effect.

She said: “The Police Licensing team have been told to advise applicants that the content of emails, between themselves and South Yorkshire Police, may be produced should an objection be raised against the application and also that said content may be passed to the relevant authorities should that objection result in a Licensing Board hearing.”

Doncaster Council said the recommendations “are being actioned” to ensure “similar incidents do not reoccur”.

CCTV conditions

Despite his victory, Morling said he is now lobbying the authorities to explain why there are conditions on licences asking publicans to give the police instant access to CCTV footage that “go directly against the Data Protection Act” and could make licensees “liable to prosecution”.

Poppleston Allen partner Graeme Cushion said he welcomed a tightening of CCTV conditions, adding that police requests should be “very targeted” and officers are not permitted to “go on a fishing expedition”.

“We’re suggesting there should be a caveat on police requests for CCTV evidence which says they have to be in accordance with the terms of the Data Protection Act, so that licence conditions aren’t putting licensees potentially in breach of Data Protection legislation.”

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