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Police shut Docksider for 24 hours

Enforced closure: the Docksider Bar & Restaurant

The owner of a Hamilton bar said a police closure order after a weekend fight on the premises was unfair.

Reed Young, the owner of Docksider Pub & Restaurant on Front Street, said: “We are extremely disappointed in the action taken by the Bermuda Police Service.”

Mr Young was speaking yesterday after police ordered a 24-hour shutdown in the wake of a fight that broke out last Friday night at a private party at the bar.

He said: “Staff and security dealt with the situation appropriately and police were called and the issue resolved.

“There were no injuries or subsequent arrests due to this incident.

“We are very disappointed with the closure order and do not believe that it is warranted under these particular circumstances.”

The police action meant the bar was forced to close at 10pm last night and cannot reopen until 10pm tonight.

Mr Young said he had worked with police during the past 25 years to “ensure the safety of our patrons and have always fully co-operated with the police rendering assistance to ensure that individuals causing problems are brought to justice”.

He added that the business backed the police, despite a disagreement about the need for a closure order.

Mr Young said: “We fully support the BPS and their officers in the difficult job they are tasked with in this day and age.”

He added: “We thank all our loyal customers and wish to assure them, as they already know, that they are our first priority when it comes to safety and enjoying themselves.”

But Commissioner of Police Stephen Corbishley said officers had used their powers under the Liquor Licence Act in an appropriate way.

The Act gave police the power to close licensed premises for no more than 24 hours if there had been trouble or if intelligence suggested there could be a disturbance.

Mr Corbishley said that closure orders were not handed out without good reason.

He added: “The fact is, while I recognise that this has a business impact on a licensed premises, our position is quite clear — we wish to work in partnership with them and to identify a solution to ensure their place is safe for patrons to visit.”

Mr Corbishley said that police had examined CCTV footage from the bar as part of their investigation.

He added: “We established that there was a matter there that required us to look at a closure order.”

Mr Corbishley said that bar owners had professional and social responsibilities. He explained: “They have a professional responsibility in regards to how their businesses are run.

“They also have a social responsibility to ensure that other patrons who attend feel comfortable and safe.”

Mr Corbishley said that police wanted to work alongside business owners and asked bar owners with problems to contact police.

He added: “We will happily support them.”

Mr Young said the bar was unlikely to reopen at 10pm tonight, but it would be open for lunch tomorrow. The 24-hour closure is the second issued by police in recent months.

Bailey’s Bay Cricket Club’s bar was closed last September after a brawl outside the Hamilton Parish venue.

Bottles were thrown at police as they tried to intervene and four men were arrested.