Junk nightclub has condemned a decision by Hampshire Police to review it’s licence, claiming the positive work that it has done to improve safety is being used against it.
Police have been called to the London Road hotspot 48 times since the start of 2015 – almost once a week – for various incidences such as stabbings, punch-ups, including 23 assaults, four drugs offences, 12 antisocial behaviour orders, six public order offences and one rape allegations, which turned out to be “unsubstantiated”.
In a statement published on Facebook, club director Wes Leigh refuted suggestions that the club was allowing “Affiliated London Gangs” to operate on the premises and described claims made by both police and the local press as “somewhat misleading”, He added that closing the club would do “nothing to address the real issues of public safety” within the city:
After being praised at the end of January there is now a police allegation that drugs and repeated violence due to a management failure over a sustained period of time is a problem at Junk. This is despite the fact that over the same period of time our efforts to work closely with police making various security changes and extra training supplied by the police resulted in the granting of an extension of our license operating hours with a new 3am last entry time from early Jan 2016…
Clubs do not have crystal balls and we could never predict such an event to occur but we do everything in our power to prevent them; we operate plastic glass policy, a challenge 25 ID policy and always over staff on our door and carry out searches.
The police have now launched an investigation to review Junk’s license, according to the Daily Echo. The club could lose its licence as police are calling for the council to shut down the club.
The police dossier on the club claims management had “deflected responsibility” for the January stabbing incident on to another venue.
The police are now calling for Junk’s licence so be revoked, claiming their “management are not strong enough” or to replace their whole management and security team as well as pushing their closing hours back to 2am (from 4am) and improving its CCTV coverage and ID scanning system.
Wes Leigh, the club director, insisted that management are cooperating with the police, and Junk is one of the “safest venues in the City”:
Aat a considerable cost to our business we have laid on extra security measures with increased scanning of ID at the venue, searching of customers and increased CCTV surveillance – led by our “Rave Safe” campaign.
This has led to a tightened door policy and some longer queuing times which have again damaged our reputation but as we put the safety of customers first we felt it necessary to make these changes.
He added the January stabbing was a horrible incident, but someone involved had been seen in another venue and the club was closed at the time the incident happened.
Mr Leigh also highlighted the increased strain that has been placed on Southampton’s night-time venues by recent policing cuts, claiming that clubs are being made a “scapegoat” for the lack of police presence on the city’s sreets late at night.
In relation to a number of further incidents which were today reported by the Daily Echo as having taken place inside the venue Mr Leigh claimed that 17 of the incidents had in fact taken place outside of the club’s front door and not inside the establishment, while a further eight had been considered “positive” by police as door staff had assisted in drug seizures or ending disturbances.
The January 22nd incident saw two men receive stab wounds on the early hours on Saturday morning outside the club. One costumer was attacked with a belt and punctured in the stomach, a second stabbed five times and a third with a head wound. The fight started inside the nightclub, and is believed to have involved up to 30 people, the fight continued outside after staff removed the men from the venue. Six men aged 19-26 were arrested and bailed in connection to the incident.
The club was closed for 24 hours after the incident.
A review is now under way regarding the future of the club, the public are able to make a comment until April 11th, the hearing will take place on Thursday May 5.
Junk said today that it will do everything possible to fight the review and to save the venue from closure, saying that the club does not want “to be the first in a series of revoked licenses where statistical policing with skewed numbers and figures are used ahead of the actual facts to destroy business and local nightlife culture”.