To consider the review of a premises licence following a summary review application submitted by West Midlands Police in respect of Saleem Bagh, 476 Station Road, Dorridge, Solihull, B93 8HE.
The Licensing Act Panel read and considered the report at their meeting on 11th February 2021. They had also read the letters that Mr Ali had given his customers to sign and noted that he was no longer the DPS. They also saw the video clip from Mr Ali showing the covid measures that he had now completed. They noted his 30 years history and no previous Licensing Act breaches.
Members heard the summary of the report by the Licensing Officer. They then heard the police representation from both officers.
They then heard from Mr Ali’s representative, Graham Hopkins from GT Licensing Consultants explaining that Mr Ali was unaware that he couldn’t allow an illegal worker unpaid work i.e. cleaning at his restaurant while he accommodated him without rent. As this was dealt with via a Civil Penalty fine in 2016, little weight was given.
Mr Hopkins also explained that Mr Ali was merely serving free alcohol drinks whilst customers were waiting for their food orders inside the restaurant. Members were extremely concerned that up to 20 people may have been inside the small area where the alcohol was consumed (whether for profit or not) during lockdown. They expected Mr Ali to have been very familiar with public safety rules on coronavirus nearly a year on, especially being a Premises Licence Holder and running a licensed premises/restaurant for 30 years.
Mr Ali admitted that he had initially misled the police by not being truthful about supplying alcohol inside his premises when clearly this was illegal. He accepted that he had put customers and the community and others nationally at further risk of covid. He insisted that the alcohol was not supplied in return for any payment.
Members heard that the covid numbers had increased during this period in the Dorridge area which the police said was a ‘hotspot’. They were particularly concerned to note comments from the Director of Public Health who submitted a Public Safety objection stating that ‘The actions of the premises have placed unnecessary risk to the health of individuals, families and local communities at a time when the country is experiencing a national emergency. Poor or no adherence to guidance on infection prevention and control to prevent the transmission of coronavirus’.
Upon taking into account all representations, Licensing Objectives, S182 Guidance and other legal obligations, they decided on balance that due to the very serious public safety breaches, dishonesty towards police officers and during a time when the community were most at risk of coronavirus, it was appropriate and proportionate to exclude a licensable activity at these premises, namely the. supply of alcohol. Members felt that modifying the conditions or the resignation of the DPS was not appropriate or proportionate enough as to exclude the supply of alcohol in these circumstances.
Members lifted the interim measures imposed as regards hot food. Members also welcomed the new conditions proposed at the premises and confirmed the following during other licensable activities in the Licence e.g. late night refreshment.
A) Prevention of Crime & Disorder
1)a) The premises licence holder shall ensure that a CCTV system is installed in the premises of a standard acceptable to West Midlands Police. The system shall be maintained in good working order & fully operational covering all internal areas of the premises to which the public have access. All entry and exit points shall be covered enabling frontal identification (full head and shoulders images), of every person entering the premises in any light condition to an evidential standard.
b) All staff will be fully trained in the operation of the CCTV system including the ability to download screenshots and images for Police or Authorised Officers on request. A minimum of one such member of staff fully trained in the operation of the CCTV system shall be on duty at all times that the premises are open to the public.
c) The CCTV system will have the capability to either download footage onto a disk or memory stick. The footage of the CCTV system will be retained for a minimum period of 31 days before re-writing itself with the correct date and time showing. Screenshots and CCTV footage will be made available to Police or Authorised Officers immediately upon request.
d) If the CCTV system is broken the premises licence holder shall notify the Licensing Authority and Police Licensing Team as soon as possible and get the fault rectified as soon as practicable.
e) The premises licence holder shall ensure that a log is kept with the details and the dates of all work / repairs
f) On a minimum daily basis the premises licence holder / DPS will check that the CCTV system is operational and the date and time stamp are correctly set and on a minimum of a weekly basis, check that the CCTV system is also correctly recording images for a minimum of 31 days and that screenshots and footage can be correctly downloaded. Details of these checks are to be recorded in the appropriate section of the Incident Book.
2) An Incident Book shall be kept at the premises and made available to the Police or Authorised Officers, which will record the following:
All crimes reported;
All ejections of customers;
Any complaints received and the outcome;
Any incidents of disorder;
Any faults in the CCTV;
Any visit by a relevant authority or emergency service. Whenever Police are called a CAD number shall be obtained and recorded in the Incident Book.
3) Appropriate notices shall be clearly displayed by the entry / exit door and behind the servery advising customers:
That CCTV is in operation;
Asking customers to respect residents, to leave the restaurant and area quietly, not to loiter outside the premises and to dispose of litter legally;
Asking customers not to rev car engines or play loud music in a vehicle while waiting outside the premises;
That no drinks, bottles or glasses may be taken outside the restaurant at any time;
B) Public Safety
A fire risk assessment and emergency plan will be prepared and regularly reviewed. Staff will be given appropriate fire safety training.
C) Prevention of Public Nuisance
1) No deliveries of goods to the premises or removal of rubbish shall take place between 20.00 and 08.00.
2) A phone number will be clearly displayed to the front of the premises for residents to call with any concerns. Details of any complaints and the outcome will be recorded by the premises licence holder or Duty Manager in the appropriate section of the Incident Book.
3) The restaurant front will be kept tidy at all times and swept at close. A suitable litter bin will be provided for smokers use and will be regularly emptied.
4) A maximum of 6 smokers will be permitted outside at any time.