Thursday, April 23, 2009

Law & Order : Police demand drug dealers be banned from pubs

Members of the Scottish Police Federation have backed a motion calling for pub landlords to ban drug dealers from their establishments. (and rightly so – Ed)

The Scotsman reports :

Police call for drug dealers to be banned from their local pubs

Published Date: 23 April 2009
By Michael Howie
Home affairs correspondent

DRUG-dealers should be banned from pubs to alienate them from their local communities, Scotland's rank-and-file police officers demanded yesterday.

Scottish Police Federation members backed a motion to deprive criminals of their "gang hut premises" and force licence holders to exclude them.

Officers voted in favour of new legislation that would make it an offence for proprietors to allow convicted drug dealers in their pubs.

Sergeant Colin Johnston of Strathclyde Police told the annual conference in Peebles it was time to create new Asbo-style banning orders for people convicted of supplying drugs.

He pointed out that Section 80 of the Licensing (Scotland) Act 1976 had created the offence for licence holders to allow persons of bad character to frequent licensed premises.

But the legislation was under-used in police operations and was eventually repealed and not replaced.

However, Sergeant Johnston believes convicted drug dealers should be alienated in their communities and an amendment should be made to the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 to make licensees more accountable on who they serve.

He said: "These are licensed premises; it is not a free-for-all, so the licensees are responsible.

"It is time to regain control of our pubs and totally exclude those who have been convicted of drug-dealing.

"We should deprive criminals of their gang hut premises.

"It would take away their standing in society by removing them from pubs."

He was backed by Sergeant Frank Carroll of Strathclyde Police who said: "It is time for licensees to take full responsibility for their premises and exclude these people.

"What is the point in removing them from houses if they can still go about freely in licensed premises?

"They should be excluded from all aspects of public life."

Members representing Scotland's 16,000 police officers voted 73.74 per cent in favour of the motion.

It called for the federation to take up the matter with justice secretary Kenny McAskill to secure an amendment to the current legislation "seeking to exclude from licensed premises persons of bad character, namely those convicted of offences concerning the supply of convicted drugs".

A Scottish Government spokeswoman last night said new legislation in September will allow for a review of a premises licence on the grounds that not enough is being done to prevent crime and disorder.

"We are confident that the powers available to the police in the Act, combined with the new powers we are introducing in the Criminal Justice and Licensing Bill, will give the police and licensing boards the right tools to tackle crime and disorder in respect of licensed premises and shut premises."

Meanwhile, police also backed a motion calling for officers to be routinely equipped with Tasers when confronting criminals in possession of knives and other weapons.

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