Bailey’s Bay CC hit with 24-hour ban
A sports club was shut down by police for 24 hours after a “Wild West” scene that included bottles being thrown at officers.
Bailey's Bay Cricket Club's bar was closed temporarily in the wake of a fight involving several men outside the Hamilton Parish venue. Police were called to the confrontation, which happened at about 1.30am on Friday, and officers used a Taser stun gun.
Four men were arrested and Commissioner of Police Stephen Corbishley said yesterday it is important to change the culture around some licensed premises to ensure they are safe places for everyone to enjoy.
Friday's incident came less than three weeks after Danshun Swann, 25, was fatally stabbed outside Southampton Rangers Sports Club. Mr Corbishley told The Royal Gazette: “Last week we had, and it wasn't the first, serious disorder.
“Obviously, we had the Southampton Rangers event where somebody was killed and the incident at Bailey's Bay, it was like a saloon fight, like the Wild West. Officers turned up and bottles were being thrown, so I instructed the closure of the bar, just to demonstrate the fact that our enforcement powers are there to be used.”
He continued: “Whether it be cricket clubs, football clubs, whatever, they're increasingly being populated by people intent on drinking too much, getting rowdy; we are getting reports of people openly smoking cannabis in some places.
Families don't want to go there because they feel unsafe; it's not enjoyable for them.”
The commissioner was keen not to single out the Bailey's Bay club as the only venue linked to violence and said: “We've got some excellent, law-abiding and highly successful licensed businesses in Bermuda but, what's clear in the way they operate is that they have very strong door policies, they have a very strong standard with regards to ejecting people with disorderly behaviour and take seriously their responsibilities to communities.”
He continued: “Incidents take place in licensed premises that I don't think have the same standard and their interest is more around maintaining their profit than taking social responsibility seriously for the safety of patrons.”
Mr Corbishley also pointed out that that duty extends to the period after closing time as neighbourhoods can be subjected to antisocial and violent incidents late at night when patrons leave the bar.
The commissioner intends to work with partners and licensees to help them maintain safety standards, share information and support them to ensure the “wrong kind of people” are not frequenting their premises.
He continued: “By working in that way, not only will they be more sustainable, because more people will want to go there, but they will be supported by the police service.”
The Liquor Licence Amendment Act 2010 gives police the power to close licensed premises for no more than 24 hours if there has been trouble or it is likely.
Mr Corbishley added yesterday: “While we won't hold back making such decisions again in the future, we have got to judge each incident on its own merit.”
He believed there is “overwhelming” public backing to tackle some of the island's issues and said: “Local people want their local bar to be safe and they want their police service to be active in addressing that, so it's something I am confident will be supported by local communities.”
However, Arrim Perinchief, the Bailey's Bay Cricket Club president, believed the closure of venues would be an ineffective tool for curbing the violence inflicted by people intent on doing so.
He said those carrying out the recent attack were not customers and continued: “The club was closed at the time when this happened.
“They seemed to have attended the area just for those purposes; they came to cause trouble. The 24-hour ban on Bailey's Bay is not effective as far as changing these people's behaviour.”
Mr Perinchief added: “It's not just a Bailey's Bay thing; it happens at a lot of clubs.”
He continued: “For our licence to be in jeopardy because of their behaviour is not really fixing the problem; it's not going to stop these individuals from going to other places and causing the same trouble.”
Mr Perinchief said the club does everything it can to abide by licensing rules, ensuring staff have the mandatory training, and he welcomed the opportunity to work with police.
He also said the ringing of tills is not more important than safety and the club has even cancelled planned functions after last week's incident.
Mr Perinchief added: “I've always expressed to my staff that money is definitely not the priority.”
Michael Weeks, the Minister of Social Development and Sport, suggested clubs could increase security through lighting and CCTV in their vicinities and ensure that only members or signed-in guests were allowed in.
Mr Weeks, a former vice-president of Western Stars Sports Club in Pembroke, said: “For many of us growing up in Bermuda, our sporting and community clubs were where we were nurtured as youngsters.
“Not only did we learn sports, but also lessons of life. So, if someone is violent or disrespectful of club rules, then the full weight of those club rules should be administered and if the offence warrants suspension or police involvement, then so be it. It's a fine line, but we have to try to get through to the perpetrators and teach our youngsters that this kind of behaviour will not be tolerated and teach alternative ways of conflict resolution.”
• Update: This story was amended to make clear that it was the bar at Bailey's Bay Cricket Club that was temporarily closed.
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