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Rangers fallout: emphasis on efficient CCTV

Southampton Rangers Sports Club (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Community clubs should make sure their security cameras work or risk being labelled as complicit in crime, a report from the Liquor Licensing Authority has warned.

In the report of the recent liquor licence hearing for Southampton Rangers Club, the LLA highlighted that the quality of CCTV footage was a vital tool in the identification of offenders in a climate where people may not feel safe giving evidence for fear of reprisals or being called a “snitch”.

The report suggested that clubs and their security staff should conduct regular checks of their camera systems to ensure they are well-maintained, clean and operational. Clubs were also encouraged to maintain a recordings library because not all complaints were made on the day or week when they occur. The LLA said: “All members clubs, as well as other licensed establishments, should look to adopt these mechanisms or risk being labelled complicit in the criminality that takes place within and around their walls.”

Members’ clubs were also told to play their part to prevent gang members and people involved in antisocial behaviour from taking over their grounds.

The report added that identification of gang members could be difficult, but that it was impossible to remove gang culture from clubs if members or their associates were involved in gangs. The LLA said that gang members should stay away from community clubs and not bring “heat” to their family and friends.

The report said: “Members’ clubs must therefore find a balance between working for and with those within our community who may have fallen down along life’s journey.”

The Liquor Licensing Authority added: “Ultimately it is a question for them what standards they seek to uphold, but if they cannot maintain the decorum and dignity and provide a safe place for patrons to enjoy, they serve no purpose other than short-term profit, which is not the intended reason for their existence.”

The report said that the clubs had said they were prepared to to work together to form a Pub Watch scheme.

Southampton Rangers Sports Club was granted a liquor licence with a string of conditions last week despite a police objection to its renewal. The conditions included the installation of high-definition CCTV, serving liquor in plastic cups and that alcohol could not be served after 9pm, except on Thursdays, where the bar can stay open to 11pm.

The club was also asked to work with the police to prevent people associated with gangs using the premises. Superintendent James Howard of the police service said yesterday that the police had objected to the licence renewal because of several breaches of the Liquor Licence Act.

Mr Howard said: “In its official ruling, the authority has now granted the licence renewal for Southampton Rangers Sports Club, with several conditions, which the BPS supports.

“In the interest of public safety, the BPS will continue to meet and work with Southampton Rangers Sports Club and all members’ clubs to eradicate any antisocial behaviour, disorder, gang activity and violence from their establishments — should it be present.

“However, the BPS also remains committed to responding to any acts of criminality at liquor-licensed premises and reporting any breaches of the Liquor Licence Act to the authority.”