Plans to charge bars for policing rejected by councillors

Plans to charge bars for policing rejected by councillors

Simon Meechan

Plans to charge bars for policing rejected by councillors

The Royal Borough has opted not to recommend charging pubs and clubs in Windsor and Maidenhead a late night levy.

Councillors said at a meeting last night more information was needed into how the annual fee would be spent amid fears publicans in Maidenhead would being paying the levy to fund extra patrols in Windsor.

Superintendent Simon Bowden, LPA commander for Windsor and Maidenhead, told the borough’s Crime and Disorder Overview and Scrutiny Panel that the money would be used to fund schemes like taxi marshalling and that it would not go straight into the police coffers.

He added: "There needs to be informed discussion, not just about the levy but what the levy will be used for."

Gill Naden and David Hatch, respective chairmen of the Windsor and Maidenhead Pubwatch schemes, spoke against the proposals.

Gill told the panel violent crime is down seven per cent in Windsor Town Centre, and 28 per cent in Maidenhead. She said that Windsor Pubwatch has ‘worked tirelessly’ in supporting TVP.

She feels an extra charge is unfair on licensed premises.

David, manager of Coco Bar in King Street, objects to Maidenhead venues paying the same rate as Windsor when Maidenhead has a smaller police presence.

He said: "Why do we need to pay to put more on the streets when we are not getting the same cover as Windsor in Maidenhead."

There were 513 violent crimes in Windsor town centre and 194 in Maidenhead between April and November 2012. These mostly occurred on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights.

When asked if a levy could lead to reduced crime, Supt Bowden added: "If the money that was raised was used appropriately. Yes it can be reduced.”

Since 2012 councils have had the authority to impose a levy of between £299 and £4,440 on license holders who sell alcohol after midnight.

Newcastle City Council brought in a levy on November 1, and is the only authority to have done so.

The panel decided against recommending the proposals at the meeting held at Maidenhead Town Hall in St Ives Road.

Cllr David Hilton said: "We are not recommending the introduction of a late night levy. We need much more information on how the money might be spent.”

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