Rangers resolute in finger-pointing aftermath

  • Southampton Rangers Club. (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

    Southampton Rangers Club. (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Bar bosses clashed with police over their stance on security at a sports club after an early-morning brawl left six people injured.

Superintendent James Howard said operators were obliged to make sure customers behaved, but Southampton Rangers Sports Club management claimed it was “disturbing” for officers to try to shift the blame to its on-site security staff.

Police visited the venue during a function last Friday, but ruled out a more long-term presence.

Club management said they had asked for officers to attend at its 3am closing time, when a brawl broke out in the grounds.

The disturbance resulted in six men aged between 21 and 32 attending the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital for treatment.

They were all later arrested, as well as a 27-year-old woman who drove three of them to KEMH.

The seven have since been released on police bail.

Mr Howard announced a 24-hour closure of the club in the wake of the incident.

Police told licensed premises it was “imperative” that they take “social responsibility” for customers’ safety and conduct.

Mr Howard said on Monday: “It is the responsibility of the relevant licensed premises to ensure orderly behaviour throughout its time of operation, particularly at times of closure where the impact on patrons in regards to standards of behaviour should be managed.

“We are now working with the executive team at Southampton Rangers to identify why their security staff were not able to prevent this situation and to ensure no such incidents occur again in future.”

Mr Howard explained: “Southampton Rangers employed a private security firm to manage their event on Friday evening, which is consistent with the action of many licensed premises across Bermuda.

“During the course of the evening, the Bermuda Police Service conducted visits to licensed premises, including Rangers to ensure orderly behaviour and compliance with relevant licensing requirements.

“The BPS responded to a call of disorder at Southampton Rangers early Saturday morning, at the time of its closing, and attended promptly.

“Given the demands on the BPS during this time, and the assessment of activity at Southampton Rangers earlier in the evening, it was not appropriate to place dedicated officers at this location.”

Southampton Rangers’ management said on Sunday that a security team was in place for the fundraising event “along with a police presence requested for closing as is standard” for any function at the premises.

They strongly condemned the weekend’s antisocial behaviour and said the club had worked hard to stamp out violence in recent months.

The management team insisted yesterday that police have been informed on “numerous occasions” of people hanging around the car park “waiting to harass individuals” at closing time, and that is why a police presence was routinely requested.

They said: “It is not enough for the police to say it was not appropriate for officers to be there.”

The club added: “The management team finds it disturbing that the police would try to shift blame to the security team on duty that night.”

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