Enfield police cut pub visits after licensees accuse officers of harassment

By Ellie Bothwell

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: License, Pma

The Inn on the Green had 22 visits since Christmas, says licensee
The Inn on the Green had 22 visits since Christmas, says licensee
Enfield police have agreed to reduce the number of pub visits to check licence conditions, after the local pubwatch committee told the Publican’s Morning Advertiser they were being harassed by officers.

Publicans in the north London borough said police officers had been visiting pubs once or twice a week since Christmas, despite the fact there had been no problems associated with the venues, and it was affecting trade.

This week the force superintendent admitted to the PMA​ there had been too many visits and agreed to reduce them.

The move came after local pubwatch chairman Hugh Fallon threatened the police with legal action and the PMA​ questioned police licensing officer Martyn Fisher about the visits.

Fallon, who runs the Inn on the Green, said the force has now agreed to visit pubs six times a year, including “one major” inspection.

'Good news'

“A superintendent at-tended our pubwatch meeting [last week] and we agreed that five or six visits annually would be acceptable, and if there were any incidents then it could be taken further than that,” Fallon said.

“It’s good news that we were happy to get, otherwise we would have taken it further.”

He said superintendent Louis Smith also agreed to take a “more even-handed” approach across licensed premises and carry out more visits at off-
licences in the borough.

Smith told the PMA​ that visits to pubs had increased after a rise in the number of officers and special constables working in Enfield since last year. He admitted that some were visited “too much” due to “teething troubles” around the implementation of a formal inspection regime to check licensing conditions.

'Happy compromise'

“Inspections hadn’t been happening formally, certainly not in any systematic fashion I understood, when I took on the job a year ago. That developed and there ended up being, in my view, too many visits,” he said.

“Because of some mis-understandings and lack of coordination internally, some pubs were being visited every couple of days, which didn’t suit anybody.

“I’m not convinced we’ve done as well as we should have in checking off-licences either.

“I can understand why they were aggrieved by it and I’m please to say we’ve reached a happy compromise.”

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