During a council meeting on 28 September it was revealed that crime and antisocial behaviour were all at lower levels than when the Licensing Act 2003 was first introduced.
There were downward trends in crime numbers in the cumulative impact area of the town, particularly between 2am and 4am, which would be the time period most affected by the imposition of an EMRO. The police revealed that there were only a “handful” of premises that would be affected by an EMRO. Police and licensing officers also revealed that their work with problem premises was also tackling problems before they became significant issues.
In addition the council committee raised concern about the costs related to implementation and any legal challenges.
The committee received evidence from officers that the likely costs of defending a legal challenge could be in excess of £100,000. It also heard that the evidence in favour of an EMRO must be “robust and conclusive”.
The committee heard that the recent House of Lords scrutiny report into the Licensing Act had stated that EMROs were unworkable in their current form and should be removed from the statute book as soon as possible.
Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “The ALMR has worked to avoid the introduction of an EMRO in Hartlepool so it is good to see a local authority taking a pragmatic, common sense approach to local licensing.
“Late-night venues in Hartlepool are crucial employers and valuable social hubs. They work hard to ensure that the town’s nightlife is dynamic, exciting and safe. Crime and violence in Hartlepool has been falling and the introduction of an early morning restriction order, a measure discredited by the House of Lords, would have only placed unwanted pressure on local businesses.”