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Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006

Section 21: Power of police to require review of premises licence

154.Section 21 inserts new sections 53A, 53B and 53C in to the Licensing Act 2003. The aim of this provision is to supplement the existing provisions in that Act which provide for conditions to be attached to licences.

155.Section 53A(1) enables a chief officer to apply for an expedited review of a premises licence where a senior police officer (of or above the rank of superintendent) certifies, to the relevant licensing authority, that he considers a licensed premises to be associated with serious crime and/or disorder.

156.Section 53A(2) requires the licensing authority, (i) within 48 hours of receipt of the certificate to consider whether it is necessary to take any of the interim steps set out at section 53B(3) pending a determination of a review of the premises licence; and (ii) within 28 days after receipt of the application, to review the premises licence and reach a determination.

157.Section 53A(3) provides that the Secretary of State must by regulations prescribe the procedure by which the licensing authority should conduct the review.

158.Section 53A(4) defines a senior police officer as being of or above the rank of superintendent. It also defines serious crime by reference to section 81 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000: broadly those crimes for which a sentence of imprisonment of at least three years could be imposed and offences involving violence.

159.Section 53A(5) provides that weekends and public holidays are not counted when calculating the 48 hours mentioned above.

160.Section 53B deals with the taking of interim steps by the relevant licensing authority pending determination of the review.

161.Section 53B(2) enables the relevant licensing authority to take any of the interim steps set out at subsection (3) without the licence holder having an opportunity to make representations. Section 53B(3) lists the interim steps that the relevant licensing authority must consider taking which are (a) modification of the conditions of the premises licence; (b) exclusion of the sale of alcohol by retail from the scope of the licence; (c) the removal of the designated premises supervisor from the licence; (d) the suspension of the licence. Section 53B(4) provides that the conditions of a premises licence are modified when any of them are altered or omitted or any new condition is added. A licensing authority can take one or more of the interim steps pending the review of the premises licence.

162.Section 53B(5) provides that any decision by the licensing authority to take an interim step(s) will take effect either immediately or at a later time specified by the authority. Notice of the decision must be given to the holder of the premises licence and the police.

163.Section 53B(6) provides that if the licence holder makes representations, that are not withdrawn, the licensing authority must within 48 hours of receiving them (not counting weekends and other public holidays) hold a hearing to consider them. Advance notice of the hearing must be given to the holder of the premises licence and the police.

164.Section 53B(8) requires the licensing authority to consider at the hearing whether the interim steps are necessary and to decide whether they should be withdrawn or modified. Section 53B(9) requires the licensing authority to have regard at any hearing to the senior police officer’s certificate, any representations made by the police and any relevant representations made by the holder of the premises licence.

165.Section 53C deals with the procedure for conducting the determination of an application for a review made under section 53A.

166.By virtue of this section, the licensing authority must hold a hearing to consider and determine any application for review and any relevant representations made in respect of it. In order for representations to be 'relevant' they must have been made by the holder of the premises licence, an interested party or a responsible authority (see the definitions in section 13 of the Licensing Act 2003) and they must relate to the licensing objectives. If the representations are made by an interested party there is a further requirement that the licensing authority does not consider them to be frivolous or vexatious. If it does, the authority is to explain its decision to the person who made the representations. The section provides that as a result of this review the authority must, if it considers it necessary for the promotion of the licensing objectives, either modify the conditions of the licence, exclude a licensable activity which the premises licence covers, remove the designated supervisor, suspend the licence for a period not exceeding 3 months or revoke the licence. If the licensing authority does not consider any of the steps to be necessary for the promotion of the licensing objectives, it will leave the licence untouched.

167.Section 53C(10) requires the licensing authority to notify the outcome of a review and its reasons for so deciding to the licence holder, the police and any person who has made relevant representations. Section 53C(11) provides that the determination of an application for review will not take effect until any appeal has been disposed of, or if there is no appeal at the end of the period within which an appeal may be brought.

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