Enfield licensees accuse police of harassment

By Ellie Bothwell

- Last updated on GMT

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Police have been visiting pubs once or twice a week since Christmas
Police have been visiting pubs once or twice a week since Christmas
Publicans in a north London borough are considering taking legal action against police for harassment, after officers visited pubs up to twice a week to carry out licence checks.

Licensees in Enfield said the visits — which happen during the busiest periods on Friday and Saturday evenings — are affecting trade as customers assume there has been “trouble”.

Hugh Fallon, who runs the Inn on the Green and is chairman of the local pubwatch, said his outlet has had 22 visits since Christmas, despite the fact there have been no problems associated with the venue.

He said the police warned publicans they would be carrying out increased checks at Christmas but they hadn’t been told it would continue, or given a reason why the visits are necessary.


“Eight or nine police officers are coming out of vans every weekend and every week. It’s the same checklist — they’re asking about the numbers of customers we can have, time checks for toilets, door supervisor badges, underage ID checks. We’re quite concerned,” he said.

Fallon said he wrote a letter of complaint on behalf of the pubwatch committee last week to the licensing officer, the borough’s police commander, and the head of licensing at Enfield Council. He asked why the checks are being carried out and said he would consider legal action if they continue without a reasonable explanation.

Joe Murray, licensee of the Fox, said police visited his pub eight times in December alone, and he has had around 12 visits since.

He said he has written to his pubco’s legal team, to ask if it will pursue the matter.

“It’s bordering on harassment now. I’m not a child, I’m running a business that turns over £1m a year.”


Poppleston Allen partner Andy Grimsey said he has “never heard” of a police force carrying out so many visits.

“It strikes me as wholly unnecessary and disproportionate to a pub not causing any problems,” he said.

Martyn Fisher, police licensing officer for Enfield, said since the visits have increased “crime figures have diminished quite a lot”.

“We’re the police. We’ve got every right to visit licensed premises at any time of day when they’re open and trading,” he said.

“We think we’ve got the balance just right. It’s a reassurance for the publican and the people inside the premises to know if anything goes wrong we’re close at hand to help out."

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