'Forensic data' not needed to justify late-night levy, Southampton claims

By Ellie Bothwell

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Levy Southampton Introduction

Consultation respondents said the council presented flawed data as costs provided were not specific to the levy period
Consultation respondents said the council presented flawed data as costs provided were not specific to the levy period
Southampton City Council has claimed it does not need to provide “forensic data” outlining the specific costs of policing the night-time economy in order to justify the introduction of a late-night levy (LNL).

In a vociferous rebuttal to criticisms on its levy consultation, the authority added that whether the cost spent by police after midnight is “80% of the total or 50% is not considered to be a salient factor”.

“It is not considered reasonable to have to provide forensic data to support exactly how much is spent after midnight by each partner,” council officers said.

“The primary issue is that undeniably significant cost and resources are used managing the post-midnight period and the funding for that in the current climate is very likely to cease. That is both adequate and reasonable justification.”

It added that police do not record crime “in such a manner to allow precise and detailed data, such as alcohol related crime linked to a premises, to be extracted”.

The statement was included as part of the council’s report on the consideration of LNL consultation responses, published today.

'Flawed' data

An unspecified number of the 33 respondents to the consultation had claimed the council presented “flawed” data as the costs provided were not specific to the levy period. One group added that the authority had “not met the legal requirement to consider the cost of policing and other arrangements between midnight and 6am”.

Hampshire Police had calculated that it costs £1.6m per year to police the night-time economy area between midnight and 6am within Southampton city centre. It also outlined the number of recorded crimes and anti-social behaviour incidents for the nine months between April 2013 and January 2014 between 7pm and 7am.

It estimated a levy could raise £100,000 for the police and council.

The authority launched the consultation, on proposals to introduce a levy for all premises authorised to supply alcohol between midnight and 6am, in April.


Almost two thirds (20) of respondents said they did not support the introduction of a levy, while 10 were in favour and three gave “no clear indication”.

Responses from those against a levy included reasons that the fee is not targeted at those who cause problems and a third of eligible premises in Newcastle varied their hours out of the levy period following its introduction last November, which will incur additional costs to the council and reduce its income.

The respondents included seven residents, 10 licensing solicitors and professionals, 11 licence holders, Hampshire police, police and crime commissioner and three who did not say but are “probably residents”.

Following the responses the council said the start date for a levy will be 1 April 2015, two months later than its initial target, and if introduced the fee will be reviewed in April 2017.

The council also noted in the report that the current “healthy relationship” with the licensed trade will be at risk if a levy is imposed.

The licensing committee will make a decision on whether to introduce a levy next Thursday (11 September).  It will then need to be ratified by full Council on 17 September.

Related topics Licensing law Health & safety

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