Police order shutdown at Rangers
A sports club is to be shut by police for the second time in three months after two men were injured in separate incidents last weekend.
Southampton Rangers Sports Club was ordered to close for 24 hours from midnight tonight.
Acting Assistant Commissioner of Police James Howard, who is in charge of the BPS’s tactical operations division, issued the temporary closure order yesterday under the Liquor Licence Act.
Police acted after a 20-year-old man was stabbed inside the club on Sunday and a 22-year-old man suffered cuts to his hand when a broken bottle was “wielded during an altercation at the establishment” the previous Friday.
Southampton Rangers was shut by police for 24 hours in February after an early hours brawl in which several men were injured.
Seven people were arrested after the incident and the closure also meant two football matches were played elsewhere.
A club spokesman said this week th at the management had done everything asked of it by the authorities to tackle antisocial behaviour.
A spokesman added the club needed support and claimed armed police at the grounds on Sunday “did nothing” when the incident happened.
However, the police said yesterday that officers acted as soon as they saw an injured man leave the club.
A police spokesman explained: “The BPS implemented an island-wide policing plan last weekend, which included patrols around the Southampton Rangers Sports Club.
“In delivering the plan, police officers entered the sports club earlier in the evening to liaise with security personnel and conduct a liquor licence check. “They then exited the premises and remained in the area. A short while later an incident occurred inside the club.
“As soon as officers saw an injured man exit the club, they responded immediately by providing first aid and transporting the man to hospital.
“Additionally, police officers re-entered the establishment to speak with management, staff and security.”
The spokesman added: “The BPS continues to work with the management of Southampton Rangers Sports Club in an effort to create a safe environment.”
He declined to comment if the officers stationed at the club were armed.
Police said earlier that the 20-year-old man left the venue at about 9.15pm on Sunday with a stomach wound “after apparently being stabbed during an altercation with another man inside the sports club”.
The police said on Wednesday that the man was taken to King Edward VII Memorial Hospital and in a stable condition.
A spokesman for the sports club said later measures such as earlier closing, use of security staff and bans for known troublemakers had all been introduced.
He added that a police presence was requested on Sunday because officials expected a busy night after the football team won the First Division title race in front of a large crowd.
The club spokesman claimed: “Security broke the incident up within ten seconds of it occurring inside the club.
“We had four security guards separating the individuals and the police never entered.”
Police said yesterday inquiries into the incident continued and appealed for witnesses.
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