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Policing and Crime Act 2009

Section 27 Regulation of lap dancing and other sexual entertainment venues etc

191.This section inserts a new category of “sex establishment” called a “sexual entertainment venue” into Schedule 3 to the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 (the “1982 Act”). This will bring the licensing of lap dancing and pole dancing clubs and other similar venues under the regime set out in the 1982 Act, which is currently used to regulate establishments such as sex shops and sex cinemas.

192.The section would insert a new paragraph 2A into Schedule 3 to the Local Government Act 1982.

193.Sub-paragraphs (1), (2), (12) and (14) of the new paragraph define a “sexual entertainment venue” as premises where relevant entertainment is provided, or permitted to be provided, by or on behalf of the organiser in front of a live audience for the financial gain of the organiser or entertainer. “Relevant entertainment” may take the form of a live performance or live display of nudity and must be of such a nature that, ignoring financial gain, it must reasonably be assumed to have been provided solely or principally for the purpose of sexually stimulating any member of the audience. Sub-paragraph (14) states that an audience can consist of just one person.

194.Sub-paragraph (3) specifies that the following are not sexual entertainment venues for the purpose of the Schedule:

  • sex shops and sex cinemas;

  • any premises that at the time in question:

    • has not provided relevant entertainment on more than 11 occasions within the previous 12 months;

    • no such occasion has begun within the period of one month beginning with the end of any previous occasion; and

    • no such occasion has lasted for more than 24 hours

  • other premises exempted by order of the Secretary of State, or in Wales the Welsh Ministers (sub-paragraph (3)(c)). In addition, under sub-paragraph (6) they may also make an order that certain types of performances or displays of nudity are not to be treated as relevant entertainment for the purposes of the Schedule.

195.Sub-paragraph (4) states that the Secretary of State, or in Wales the Welsh Ministers, may by order amend or repeal sub-paragraph (3)(b) which is the provision excluding premises which provide relevant entertainment infrequently (i.e. less than eleven times in 12 months etc). However, by sub-paragraph (5), the power cannot be used to increase the number or length of occasions in any period that relevant entertainment can be provided, or provide for shorter intervals between such occasions, than this provision as originally enacted will allow. For example, the order making power could not be used to allow premises to provide relevant entertainment 20 times a year.

196.Sub-paragraphs (7) to (11) make provision relating to the exercise of the order making powers described in sub-paragraphs (3), (4) and (6). In particular, the power to make an order under sub-paragraphs (3) and (6) are subject to the negative resolution procedure, while the power to make an order under sub-paragraph (4) regarding infrequent entertainment is subject to the affirmative resolution procedure.

197.Sub-paragraph (13) stipulates that it is the organiser that “uses” any premises as a sexual entertainment venue. It is therefore the organiser that must apply for a licence under the 1982 Act. “Organiser” is defined in sub-paragraph (14) as any person who is responsible for the organisation or management of the relevant entertainment or the premises.

198.Sub-paragraph (14) provides various definitions including the meaning of “nudity” in the cases of men and women. The definition of “premises” expressly excludes private dwellings to which the public are not admitted. Sub-paragraph (14) also states that it does not matter whether the financial gain arises directly or indirectly from the performance or display or whether it is the person providing the entertainment who receives the benefit or some other person. Therefore, for example, it should not matter whether those admitted to the premises pay for admission to, or membership of, the club.

199.Subsection (4) is consequential on subsection (10). Subsection (10) inserts a new paragraph 27A into Schedule 3 to the 1982 Act. It makes provision for certain premises to be deemed to be sexual entertainment venues. This is necessary due to the operation of paragraph 2A(3)(b), which stipulates circumstances when premises are not to be considered sexual entertainment venues for the purposes of this schedule, even though they may have a licence to operate as such (for example, if they have only just started operating as a lap dancing club). Paragraph 27A provides that if premises have a sexual entertainment venue licence and they would be categorised as a sexual entertainment venue but for the exemption in paragraph 2A(3)(b) for infrequent events, the premises are deemed to be a sexual entertainment venue for the duration of the licence irrespective of how frequently relevant entertainment is provided. Paragraph 27A(3) states that a local authority must cancel a licence held by someone using such premises if asked to so in writing by the licence holder.

200.Subsection (5) substitutes paragraph 12(3)(c) of Schedule 3 to the 1982 Act, which deals with refusal of licences, to allow local authorities to set a limit on the number of sex establishments of a particular type in a locality, as well as the number of sex establishments generally, and to refuse a licence on the basis that the number of establishments in the locality is equal to or exceeds the number which the authority considers appropriate.

201.Subsection (6) amends paragraph 13(2) and (3) of Schedule 3 to the 1982 Act which provides local authorities with the power to prescribe in regulations standard terms and conditions for sex establishment licences. The amendments allow local authorities to impose different standard conditions on a sexual entertainment venue compared with other kinds of sex establishment, such as a sex shop. Copies of any regulations made by a local authority under paragraph 13 of Schedule 3 must be supplied by the local authority upon request and payment of a reasonable fee.

202.Subsection (7) ensures that the local authority will be able to charge a fee for applications to vary a licence granted under the 1982 Act. Indeed, a reasonable fee set by the local authority is also payable for the grant, renewal or transfer of a licence under the 1982 Act.

203.Subsection (8) inserts a new paragraph 25A into Schedule 3 to the 1982 Act that stipulates the procedure by which the police and local authority officers can, when acting under the authority of a warrant issued under paragraph 25(4), seize property from premises. The court can then order that property be forfeited following a conviction for an offence under either paragraph 20 (enforcement) or 23 (offences relating to persons under 18) of the 1982 Act. The provisions largely replicate those inserted by the Greater London Council (General Powers) Act 1986 but are necessary as that Act is of limited application. Subsection (9) similarly replicates an amendment made by the 1986 Act.

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