A ROMFORD town-centre bar was granted a seven day 2am licence after the owners’ barrister accused Havering Police of improper conduct.
Kosho in South Street, Romford, can now serve alcohol and play music until 2am all week.
Police and council officers asked for the licence to be refused at a meeting of Havering Council’s licensing sub-committee at the Town Hall, Main Road, Romford yesterday (October 6), arguing it removed many “good practice” conditions previously agreed to.
PC Dave Leonard said licensee BRT Bar Services had been “very happy” to accept police recommendations which included adopting plastic glasses and a drugs policy.
“Romford Town centre is a hot spot. Crime has been on the up and I’m looking to address that,” he said.
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He said an example of Kosho staff taking positive action was that 16 crimes had been recorded after staff called police but said the extension was too early for the new business, which opened in June.
But BRT’s barrister David Dadds said police conduct had been “not professional” and said PC Leonard had no evidence to back up his claims.
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A witness statement, which PC Leonard claimed would provide evidence, was disallowed by the committee because it had been delivered by email.
Mr Dadds argued that his clients were asking for the same terms as the licence they took over from former business Custom House but had to apply for a new licence after a refurbishment.
At this point, he claimed the new owners had “been forced to agree” to conditions put forward by police as they were “absolutely desperate” to start trading, after investing in the venue and staff.
Quoting Shakespeare he said: “It’s excellent to have great strength but it is tyrannous to use it like a giant.
“The police have great power but mustn’t abuse that power. They telephoned my client when they had this application in and said ‘if you continue to use Mr Dadds as your solicitor then it will go against you’. What we say is that the conduct of the police in making this application needs to be taken into account.”
Committee chairman Cllr Peter Gardner warned Mr Dadds not to go too far in his argument while PC Leonard shook his head in denial.
The committee agreed to the licence but added several police recommendations, including that both male and female door staff should be on duty at all times.
Speaking after the ruling, co-owner Ross Drogman said: “We were happy with the result, it was fair. We run a tight ship and we do thorough searches.”
Mr Drogman played down Mr Dadds’ claims that police were heavy handed. “We’ve never been intimidated,” he said.