Pub faces closure as police inquiry into attack stalls

The Tangier pub in Tangier Road Portsmouth.
The Tangier pub in Tangier Road Portsmouth.

CCTV released after woman’s bag is stolen

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A PUB faces closure after police said they encountered ‘fear and silence’ following a serious domestic assault.

On Friday Portsmouth City Council’s licensing sub-committee will hold an emergency meeting to decide if The Tangier pub, in Tangier Road, Copnor, should have its premises licence suspended.

The decision follows an incident on Friday, May 25 in which a woman was allegedly hit in the face with a glass and repeatedly punched by a male suspect.

Officers claim when they arrived at the pub their investigations were ‘significantly hampered’ by the removal of evidence and a denial that the attack had taken place.

They also said customers who they believe saw the assault were unwilling to speak to them, and because of this ‘resistance’ their investigation is still ongoing.

But pub manager Gillian Drinkwater told The News the attack had happened outside the pub and has been the only violent incident since she took over five months ago.

In its submission to the committee Hampshire Constabulary states: ‘Hampshire Police contend that the level of criminal and disorderly behaviour emanating from the premises is beginning to reach an unacceptable level, given that the venue is a community pub.

‘The provision of licensable activities at the premises, as currently operated, is seriously undermining the licensing objectives.

‘Police concerns as to the operation of the premises also include unchallenged drug activity on the premises, supported by evidence found by police officers.’

The police also argue that The Tangier has a propensity to attract ‘such people who can cause fear and silence in potential witnesses’ and so should have its licence suspended pending a full review hearing.

But claims of a cover up are fiercely disputed by Mrs Drinkwater, who said she has worked hard to improve the pub’s reputation.

She said: ‘I have not been intimidated by anybody in this pub ever. Maybe the police know more about the people who come here than we do.

‘It isn’t my job to pry into who you are, where you live and what you do.

‘But in my pub I think I’m the best judge of who causes trouble.

‘We haven’t had a single problem or incident until this one, which didn’t even happen inside the pub.

‘I haven’t done anything wrong, I have acted responsibly and I run a good pub.

‘I feel like, why should I have to justify myself? They are using a sledge hammer to crack a peanut.

‘I take my responsibilities seriously and I’m hopeful with the support of my customers we will be able to stay open.

‘If they close us down over the bank holiday weekend it could put us out of business.’

The hearing will decide whether to suspend the premises licence and what conditions need to be attached to ensure safety.

There is no right of appeal at this stage and a full review must then take place within 28 days.