Portsmouth takeaway joins late-hours group in Guildhall Walk despite police fears

Ken's Kebabs in Guildhall Walk
Ken's Kebabs in Guildhall Walk
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  • Ken’s Kebabs have been granted a 5am licence by councillors
  • The decision comes after Gida Express, Pryzm and The Astoria were all granted later operating hours on licences
  • Police fear crime and disorder on the up in area
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A TAKEAWAY has joined a growing list of establishments in the Guildhall Walk area receiving longer licensing hours despite violence fears from the police.

Ken’s Kebabs, which previously lost its licence after a number of violent incidents, was granted a 5am licence by councillors yesterday.

We have seen an increase in crime and disorder in what is already a problematic area.

PC Pete Rackham, licensing officer at Hampshire Constabulary

It came despite serious warnings from Hampshire Constabulary and the city council’s own licensing manager that an increase in hours would have an impact on crime in the area.

The decision meant it joined fellow takeaway Gida Express and large nightclubs, The Astoria and Pryzm in being granted longer licensing hours this year.

Ahead of the meeting, figures were released showing that more incidents had occurred between 1am and 5am in the street within the Guildhall Walk area and that the number of offences during this year’s Freshers Week nearly quadrupled on last year’s figures.

In his evidence to the sub-licensing committee, PC Pete Rackham, licensing officer at Hampshire Constabulary, said: ‘We have seen an increase in crime and disorder in what is already a problematic area. This was shown in the Freshers Week figures in which the number of incidents jumped from five to 19. This is a huge increase.’

He stressed that the police did not have a problem with how well the establishment was run and said that councillors should reject the application if it could not be disapproved that the application would increase crime.

The takeaway lies in a policy area called a cumulative impact zone (CIZ) that was set up following a number of violent incidents.

Jon Wallsgrove, representing owner Usman Ahmed, insisted that a longer licence would lead to a greater dispersal of those in the area once the clubs had closed down.

He said the shop – which previously closed at 3am – was missing out on the trade of the clubs which close at 3am during the week.

Mr Wallsgrove said: ‘I am trying to understand how someone having a drink or something to eat on a night out will lead them to being involved in crime and disorder. It is not these people who are involved in the trouble outside.’

The decision statement from the committee said that they had been presented with a ‘balanced case’ and that it had been a ‘difficult decision.’

It stated that the committee were ‘not persuaded’ that the extra hours would have an impact on the CIZ.