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Council keeping police documents secret over Ripley bar's license review

Tuesday, November 12th, 2019 4:52pm

By Eddie Bisknell- Local Democracy Reporter @EddieBisk

Police documents explaining why a town’s nightclub is to have its licence reviewed over fears of “serious crime and disorder” are being kept secret by a council.

Police documents explaining why a town’s nightclub is to have its licence reviewed over fears of “serious crime and disorder” are being kept secret by a council.

The full hearing into Crib Bar in Church Street, Ripley, will be held almost entirely in private, with evidence from the police, the owners and council officers to be heard behind closed doors.

The hearing will be held on Monday, November 18 from 2pm.

The licensing hearing comes after concerns from the police that “the premises are associated with serious crime or serious disorder or both”.

Information submitted by the police to back up their concerns is not available to the public and has been listed by the council as “confidential” on its website.

The same goes for a “control room record” report – believed to be a summary of incident logs made by the police and or ambulance service in relation to Crib Bar.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service has lodged a Freedom of Information request to gain access to the police evidence and control room record.

A witness statement and interview record logged as items on the hearing agenda have also been listed as confidential – as has a map of where the Church Street bar is.

Members of the public can register to speak at next Monday’s hearing but after they have spoken, the meeting will be continued and concluded behind closed doors.

The agenda reads: “To consider the Officer’s report, during which in the opinion of the Executive Director (Resources), the meeting will not be open to the public, relating to:-

Review of a Premises Licence – Crib Bar, 29 Church Street, Ripley.”

On the move to hold the majority of the hearing in public, it cites: “The likely disclosure of exempt information” and “that the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information”.

A Derbyshire police spokesperson said:  “Due to ongoing criminal investigations, and the potential for any future trial to be prejudiced, the report, witness statement, control log and all other elements relating to concern about Crib Bar from police officers were requested to be made private.

“The decision to hold the entire meeting in private is one that has been made by the council.”

The deadline for members of the public to make comments to be included as part of the review is Wednesday, November 13.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service has lobbied for the full meeting to be heard in public.

Items on the agenda which are not private include the current premises licence for Crib Bar.

It says that the venue is allowed to sell alcohol and other refreshments, host live music and dance performances and play recorded music from 9am until 4am every day of the week.

The approved opening hours for the venue are 9am until 5am every day of the week.

It also lists the designated premises supervisor as Robert Askew.

The company which owns the bar is called Speed 9761 Limited – of which Mr Askew is the director.

Crib Bar has been approached for comment.

A snap early morning meeting had been arranged by Amber Valley Borough Council for 8.45am  on Tuesday, November 12 to discuss the ongoing review into Crib Bar.

It had been called “following representations made by the premises licence holder”, however, these were “withdrawn” and the snap meeting was  cancelled.

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