Thursday, 6 March 2008


Magistrates have re-instated Westbrook's Liquor Locker licence to sell alcohol and the licence holder , Gurdeep Kaur Nijar, has learned from his staff's mistake and can get on with making a living again. I am delighted with this news.

Most of our problems in Thanet with under-age drinking can be traced to bigger fish than Mr Nijar and yet TDC Clouncillors are remarkably silent in this respect as are Kent Police. Here's a suggestion; go and get every Secondary School Head in Thanet to go on a pub and club crawl with TDC Officers and Kent Police on a Friday/Saturday night and identify their pupils drinking from Years 9, 10, 11 and 12 (all under 18!).

This week's Your Thanet reports a veritable out-cry from Councillor Dr Simon Moores in Westgate and Councillor Chris Wells at this decision by our Magistrates concerning The Liquor Locker. I understand and fully support their position on the need to control under-age drinking in Thanet but as 'local politicians' who do they think they are when they criticise our local magistrates who presumably have taken all factors into account when reaching their decision.?

I find it odd that the Tory party, quite correctly, takes Government to task when it interferes in the legal process but at local level, Tory councillors do not seem to appreciate that they are undermining this process themselves. If our local magistrates have examined the matter and made a decision, then we should all abide by it. By all means campaign to change the Law but until then, more restrained criticism of magistrates might be appropriate?


Anonymous said...

Oh good. They can now continue to sell alcohol to underage drinkers.

I am so glad that you acknowledge they're right to put business ahead of the law!

Bertie Biggles said...

You miss the point 23.57. The magistrates have made the decision on the case put to them. If every business in Thanet, serving minors at some stage, was to lose their licence, we would have a temperence Isle!

Rick said...


I find myself in agreement with you.

We have walked the Thanet Licensing Enforcement route before.

In the old days it was the position of the Police that clubs were responsible for late night trouble on the streets.

The same formula as now. Police will do the easy bit (blame the licenced trade) whilst the licensed trade does the difficult bit (polices the public).

In the old days the facts were that Police Licensing Officer would threaten club with renewal opposition if they called for police assistance. Then the overpaid police would sit back in the chateaux to the rear whilst Thanet's excellent bouncers maned the trenches.

Of course the problem on the streets was nothing to do with licensed trade. Rejectees and ejectees would be on the streets and therefore the responsibility of POLICE. What POLICE was the old cry.

One night a number of bouncers who better remain nameless sought to expose the police to public scrutiny and this is why Westage residents may have found themselves being knocked up by a distraught young Pc at 5.30 AM seeking to borrow a footpump. Three police cars outside a Westgate hostelry all night ? Pfffffish.

Eventually the Mayor of Ramsgate l Richard Taylor submitted a report to Home Secretary via Jonathan Aitken MP which described the problem of corrupt Thanet Policing and suggested that the answer would be local licensing of bouncers to create an environment in which it would be difficult for police to continue to fail in their night street duties.

The idea (written by bouncer ... me) appears to have been plagiarised in the Home Office and to have emerged as a trial bouncer licensing scheme in another area !

Most off licences keep a "Challenge book" in which they record refusals to serve (and this can include to adults who they suspect will consume in a public area close to the off licence or that the adult will supply under age).

But at the end of the day there has to be negligence as to consequence or criminal intent for it to be a licensee offence.

Children's behaviour is their own responsibility, their parents responsibility and in public areas the Constabulary responsibility AND everyones duty to maintain the peace.

It is symptomatic of the madness gripping our land that people so readily grasp at the easy idea of a blame victim (unless the people really to blame are viewed as the good guys IE Police for a start who the simple minded consider can do no wrong)

When we lived in Wales (88 to 95) the Head master of Croseyceiliog Comp Cwmbran used to send a posse of male teachers ... and there would be fifth year and lower sixth formers leaping out of the windows of the pubs and running.

People need to grow up. The problem is not simple (as police would have you believe).

When Fred Wynn (best manager I worked for on clubs) ran Neros he would allow six weeks to get rid of a tendency to underage drinking. Coupled with this he ran a mid week under age disco soft drinks only. To police the issue was black and white.

But suppose there were under age girls in the club at a weekend. We had a silent alarm on all the fire exit doors. No one left without us knowing. We surrpetitiously watched the dance floors and bars all the time.

To the youngsters (who may still boast how they drank under age at Neros) it was safer to think they were getting away with something when in fact they were being watched. Over six weekends you would get rid of them.

As Fred told police ... if we block them on the door do you think they going straight home ?

Police answer "duh .... ummmm"

"We would block them if the streets were policed and it was safe out there so why don't you do yer f-cking job copper ?"

You may not remember 87 when just one firm of solicitors was taking five Margate families per day through the County Court for repossession orders ? But Canterbury Uni did some sort of study which warned that the people being targetted by Maggie Thatcher were the people who unsung are in St John Ambulance, or Disabled Swimming, or youth club leadership of cadet force leadership or martial arts club instruction.

So tories wanting to identify a major cause of lack of leadership and facility for youth in Thanet look no further than Maggie targetting skilled men in the South East to force mobility of labour with the co-operation of the building societies !

Best of luck Liquor Locker now keep that challenge book going eh ?

Rick said...

Licensing policing in Thanet ?

It can be illustrated by this example.

The Licensing officers of Kent Police let a Thanet gun range have a licence. This was taken off the club by Brigadier Hague of MOD (Range Licence inspection).

The a question arose as to where the membership could shoot in Kent (given Kent Police were not withdrawing firearms certificates as a proper licensing police would have done)

The Thanet Police licensing officer told another gun club that half the membership of the closed range were "brain dead" and the other half "Should not be allowed guns". But did he take their firearms certs away ? Noooo.

He copped out by asking other clubs to closely supervise the former members of the club closed by Brig Hague !!

Thanet for decades has not had licensing policing. It has had cop out AND CORRUPTION in my opinion.

chris wells said...

Post a Comment On: BIGNEWS MARGATE"Too much too young"
1 Comment - Show Original Post

chris wells said...
Rather more to this story than that, Tony. When we get teams dopwn to the area to test for under age drinking, do you think they select their visits at random? Or do you think some local intelligence suggests places they should try, sending in under age testers with witnesses watching.

Lets say on one such raid a clear breach of the law was observed. Lets say this went to court and resulted in a conviction and a £2500 fine. Lets say the licencing laws allow the local licensing committee to impose a consequential penalty, such as loss of licence.

Then there is a right of appeal, to the same court that imposed the fine and found the guilt in the first place, and they return the licence to the original offender.

Wonder why we sometimes get p****d off, between the public and government demanding action? And when we take the legally allowable action, another part of the enforcement agencies backs off?

And next month Harpers appeal is due, what do you think they believe their chances are now?

Under age drinking is no longer the old image of a few staggering youths under the trees in the park. More addicts blame drink for their circumstances than the hard drugs that followed. More childrens lives are damaged by drink than drugs. It is the legal drug of alcohol that promises more damage to our society than most others - slow, insidious, and self denying, it wends its way into our lives, empties our bank accounts and undermines our moral fibre.

And thats a minor rant to what this subject deserves!

Bertie Biggles said...

Chris, I fully understand where you and other Councillors are coming from on this issue. It must be galling to have the situation your are referring to happen BUT the magistrates have made their decision. If you are serious about under-age drinking , get Heads of Secondary schools to do a sweep of pubs and clubs and you will find where most of Thanet's under-age drinking is going on! In the mean time I have no sympathy at all for the Liquor Locker if it ever sells alcohol to under-age customers again; it would deserve to lose its licence PERMANENTLY!

chris wells said...

We know where most of |Thanets under age drinking is going on, which is why we chase the licences of those involved where we have evidence.

Whatever due legal process has occurred I reserve the right to criticise it when I believe it has got it wrong!

Bertie Biggles said...

Good! I accept point about criticism being your right, Chris but words like 'disappointed' and 'saddened by' etc convey criticism as effectively?

chris wells said...

? as effectively as what, Bertie?

Bertie Biggles said...

Than the rather blunt comments reported by our local press, Chris. I have yet to get the hang of looking back through 'posts' so forgive me as I am being distracted with Rick, re-iterating arguments all over the place!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Rick, for your comment on Fred Wynn (my dad) He has since passed away but to me and hopefully others his legend lives on. A memorable man that you either loved or hated. None the less you were rigth. he knew how to run a good club! and how to give the police a run for their money! back in those days the club managers were the police and did a much better job if you ask me!