Guildhall Walk bar shut down as police raise fears over violent crime

The Fuzzy Duck in Guildhall Walk, Portsmouth
The Fuzzy Duck in Guildhall Walk, Portsmouth
A woman has died after being found requiring medical attention on Gosport's High Street.

UPDATE: Homeless woman, 21, who died in Gosport was known to council

0
Have your say

A LATE-NIGHT bar has been ordered to shut amid fears over violent crime linked to the venue.

The Fuzzy Duck in Portsmouth was closed yesterday after police called for an emergency hearing with licensing councillors.

A three-strong committee ruled the Guildhall Walk site must remain shut until 7pm tomorrow.

The decision comes after 28 crimes linked to the Fuzzy Duck were reported between April and October 1. Of these 10 were assaults – including an alleged sexual assault and two separate reports of grievous bodily harm.

However the venue has disputed some of the reports.

Strip club Heaven Sent in Guildhall Walk must also shut as it is run by the same owners, and shares a licence with the Fuzzy Duck. However police have not raised specific concerns about that venue.

Officers called for an emergency licence review after giving the Fuzzy Duck three weeks to come up with solutions following a meeting in June.

They say the venue did not respond and as a result more people were hurt – a claim denied by the owner.

PC Keith Hall from Portsmouth’s licensing team said: ‘Had the work been successfully completed at least one sexual assault and numerous violent assaults – including that of a male receiving a serious jaw injury requiring an operation to insert two plates – may have been averted.

‘That male, the victim of crime, is still on a liquid diet as a result of an unprovoked attack within the premises.’

Police originally planned to call for the bar to be shut for 14 days. But that was reduced after police and the owners thrashed out an agreement minutes before yesterday’s hearing took place.

Portsmouth City Council licensing councillors also ordered the removal of the Fuzzy Duck’s designated premises supervisor.

A raft of measures must be put in place at the Fuzzy Duck before it and Heaven Sent reopen tomorrow, including setting up a new system which scans the ID of everyone who enters the venue.

A first aider and dedicated ‘floor walker’ must be employed to look out for potential trouble in the bar.

Bar managers must also ensure all drinks are served in plastic glasses – a measure they say was already being implemented.

PC Hall added: ‘Due to the nature and the number of incidents linked to the venue it was appropriate to deal with this in a robust manner.

‘This should send a clear message that it is important to properly monitor and manage your own venues – there is no blame-free incident.

‘It is also important to work with the police at the first available opportunity.

‘If we start to see incidents increasing, the police and the council will take the matter very seriously.’

The Fuzzy Duck declined to comment.

A full licence review for the venue will be held in November.