Pubs need to work closely with police and council

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At a time when we often hear of pubs closing, it is a shame that we have to hear about one that has lost its licence.

The Compass Rose in Anchorage Park, Portsmouth, has had its licence taken away by the city, pending the outcome of a full hearing next month.

The drastic move was taken after a 40-person brawl took place outside the pub in the early hours of April 6 at the end of an 18th birthday party.

Alcohol-fuelled violence is the scourge of the pub trade, and it would be hard to find anyone who has been involved in the industry for long, who has not seen it.

But licensing bodies do not usually remove licenses lightly – they are aware that people’s livelihoods can be drastically affected by any such decision.

That is not to say the violence should in any way condoned or tolerated. And the industry has taken many moves over the years to counteract its sad inevitability – from introducing shatterproof mugs, to better trained staff, pubwatch schemes and CCTV.

However, when there is strong reason to believe that a pub and its management are not doing what they can to prevent violence and protect drinkers, they deserve to lose their licences.

There have been pubs in our communities that have rightly had their licenses taken away, and we applaud the efforts of police and council staff to bring that about.

But we should not be quick to judge either.

In this case, the police have not yet made a detailed statement about this brawl at the Compass Rose and we do not know if they have further reason to ask that the council deny the venue permission to sell alcohol.

And landlord Ian Campbell has said that he feels as if he has been ‘crucified’ for calling the police himself.

When a final decision is made at the full review on May 7, the panel will be given all the available evidence. If there is a problem, the staff at the pub have three weeks to look at what they can do and should work closely with police and council officers.

The loss of yet another pub would be sad news indeed.