Pub staff 'lost control' after police called to 'stand-up fight'

Officers were met by a 'hostile' crowd when the Perth pub was left without bouncers on a busy Saturday evening.

Perth pub staff ‘lost control’ after police called to ‘stand-up fight’ and drinkers ‘dancing on tables’ LDRS

A Perth pub’s premises licence has been updated after police found customers “over intoxicated”, dancing on tables and a fight outside.

Officers arrived at the Perth City Centre pub to discover it had no bouncers – despite the pub’s licence conditioning this on a Saturday night – and “staff on duty had lost control”.

Following the “one-off” incident – on March 5 – an application was made to vary the licence for The Sandeman pub in Perth.

The Kinnoull Street pub’s application went before Perth and Kinross Licensing Board on July 4, 2022.

The application sought to: amend on sale terminal licensing hours until midnight on a Monday to Wednesday; reduce the door supervision requirement, and to amend policy on the close-down of premises between social demand and functions to be in line with board policy.

Police Scotland suggested the wording be revised and this was agreed by The Sandeman.

The licensing conditions were changed to have two supervisors on Fridays and Saturdays from 7.30pm until 15 minutes after closing. There will also be a minimum of one front-of-house supervisor from 7pm on Fridays and Saturdays and additional licensed door supervisors when live performances and events are scheduled.

Cllr Chris Ahern asked police officers to expand on the comments within Police Scotland’s letter that “you were of the opinion staff on duty had lost control” at an incident they attended on Saturday, March 5.

Sergeant James Gordon told the board: “The officers that attended the incident were met by a group of hostile people outside the premises who had been engaged in a stand-up fight.

“Once they were dispersed, the officers went into the premises and found people dancing on tables. There were no SIA [Security Industry Authority] supervisors on duty.

“When they spoke to the supervisor who was in charge of the premises on the day in question they admitted that they had failed to have appropriate SIA door stewards on duty. And they agreed to close the premises there and then because it was obviously a condition on their licence to have SIA door stewards which they had failed to do.”

He said the police officers who attended the scene found the patrons to be “over-intoxicated”.

Sergeant Gordon confirmed to the board – following the March incident – there had been follow-up visits and “everything had been found to be in order”.

Licensing lawyer Audrey Junner – who was representing The Sandeman – said: “The version of events offered by my clients differs slightly from the Police Scotland version.

“But in regard to the stewarding that is not disputed at all and that’s what has really brought us here today.

“Essentially what happened was there was a group of young men in the premises. Staff started to become slightly uncomfortable. They were showing signs of aggression. So as per their standard procedures they were ejected from the premises and Becca [assistant manager] contacted the police.

“The police arrived about an hour later. They said they were satisfied that nothing had occurred, thanked the staff for their cooperation and there wouldn’t be any further action.

“They noted at the time this was a one-off incident. It’s not a problem premises.

“Becca and her team were not aware at all there had been any fighting outside the premises.

“During the initial police visit it was highlighted there were no stewards and it was agreed between everyone they had to close immediately and that was done.

“The lack of stewarding is not acceptable. It’s not disputed. It shouldn’t have happened.

“It came about as a result of being let down by the stewarding company at the last minute. That’s not offered as an excuse and my clients ultimately take full responsibility.”

The Sandeman has since changed its stewarding company and has not had any issues since this new arrangement was made.

A representative from Stonegate Pub Company – which operates The Sandeman – told the board two or three back-up plans were now in place.

He said: “In the light of anything ever like that happening again – which is very very unlikely – we have set a process in place. There will be an escalation of calls between the premises and high up in Stonegate that we would make a decision about the pub.”

Assuring the board he added: “The pub would not trade with no security on a Saturday night.”

Sergeant Gordon later told the board police officers arrived within four minutes of the call – not an hour later.

He said: “The police were called at 22:13 and the first responding officer was there at 22:17. So within four minutes police arrived at the scene – not an hour as was suggested.”

The changes to the premises licence were agreed.

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