Police name Bexley bar generating the most crime reports in 'violence hotspot'

Arcadia Lounge, Bexleyheath, Bexley, London, UK
Police said there had been nine crime reports for the venue in the past six months -Credit:Google Earth

Police have objected to plans for a nightclub in Bexleyheath to extend its opening hours, claiming it generates the most crime reports out of all venues in the ‘violence hotspot of the borough’. The bar, Arcadia Lounge on Broadway, sent an application to Bexley Council to extend its opening hours to 3.30am on weekends.

The bar is currently allowed to stay open until 2.30am, with the new licence also allowing it to stay open half an hour later until 2am on Thursdays. The topic was discussed at a licensing meeting for Bexley Council on May 15. Police Constable Kate Ellen said in her written statement that Arcadia generated the most crime reports and engagement from police out of all late night venues on Broadway.

Police Sergeant Steven Watson said at the meeting: "Crime analysis has shown that the area is the violence hotspot for Bexley borough, and those offences correspond with the peak hours of the late night licensed premises of that area."

Sergeant Watson said resource constraints meant he did not feel the Met would be able to staff the Broadway area at the time Arcadia closed if the later licence was approved. He said the move would also impact other wards in Bexley borough as police assigned to specific areas would need to be temporarily reassigned to the Broadway area.

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Bexley Council Licensing Meeting on May 15 2024, Bexley Civic Offices, Bexleyheath, London, UK
The topic was discussed at a licensing meeting for Bexley Council on May 15 -Credit:Joe Coughlan

Police claimed in their representation that nine crime reports had been filed for the venue in the past six months. Sergeant Watson said that recent intelligence had indicated drugs were being openly sold by people while they were in the queue for the nightclub.

Police Sergeant David Catlow added: "It’s quite regular to split up five, six or sometimes seven fights a night as you go into the early hours of the morning… It’s generally along the Broadway but there are instances directly outside Arcadia."

Licensing consultant Guy Hicks, speaking on behalf of the applicant, said at the meeting that he disputed the Met’s evidence that Arcadia had the greatest number of crime reports generated in the Broadway night time economy. He also claimed that the club’s application should be assessed on its own merits when responding to concerns from a council licensing officer that other venues in the area would seek later opening hours if the extended licence was granted.

He said at the meeting: "This application would actually remove quite a large portion of those people from actually being on the street at 2am and 2.30am. By the time [Arcadia] closes, everywhere else is well and truly closed. Therefore, cumulative impacts shouldn't apply in this case because they are the only premises open at that time if this licence is granted."

Mr Hicks said a shortage in police resources was a matter for the Mayor of London and was not a reason to refuse the application. He added that the venue had offered to introduce a last entry time of 2am if the licence were to be granted and staff would be given training aimed at tackling violence and assaults against women.

The decision on Arcadia Lounge’s application to extend its hours will be published by the authority in the coming weeks.

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