New Year’s Day parties are hammering our budget – Hackney police chief

Borough commander Simon Laurence

Borough commander Simon Laurence - Credit: Archant

A rise in clubs holding New Year’s Day parties is creating huge budget pressures for police, according to Hackney’s borough commander.

Simon Laurence has called on the town hall to tighten up its policy when granting Temporary Event Notices (Tens) because the cash-strapped Met cannot keep up with rising costs over the party season.

At a meeting in October he explained officers are on double time from 7am on New Year’s Day and all other bank holidays, but he needs them to work because licences are being granted until midday. On top of that, processing arrests can take up to five hours, so an officer scheduled to finish at 6am who arrests someone at 5.50am is moving into double time.

“By the time they have transported the prisoner, booked them in and done their arrest notes they move into another day’s work and are entitled to compensation,” he told the Gazette.

“If they are on a rest day or the next shift is a bank holiday it costs a lot of money. “If there weren’t events taking place so late my officers would not need to be there. However in order to keep Hackney safe I need to deploy officers and if people commit offences they will be arrested.”

Det Ch Supt Laurence said although this year there are less Ten applications because New Year’s falls on a weekend, he wants a “sharper focus”.

Hackney has about 2,000 applications for the one-off parties every year, second only to Westminster.

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Responding to the borough commander at the meeting, an officer said because there are so many, it’s not possible to review each one in detail and as an “unintended consequence”, some are granted automatically.

Community safety chief Cllr Caroline Selman pointed out the number of licences a venue can apply for in one year has gone up, which has added to the problem.

The officer added the council was reviewing how to be more cohesive in the review of licence applications but another obstacle was the time staff had to process an application.

If papers come in late and the bid is not rejected by the deadline, it is granted automatically. And as luck would have it, most come in days before the deadline, creating workload problems for officers.

The officer said the major review of Hackney’s licensing policy taking place would address how Tens could be better managed to support the police in future years.

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