Operation Condor Targets 4800 London Premises
The Metropolitan Police launched one of their biggest operations of 2012 and one of the single largest co-ordinated operations ever launched to tackle unlicensed activities across London.
During the operation they visited nearly 5000 licensed premises, including bars, pubs, clubs, restaurants, off-licenses and shops, to carry out licensing inspections, test purchase operations and to observe the licensed business activities.
This operation led to over 420 people being arrested (this number includes the arrests made as a result of unlicensed taxi drivers), 658 licensing breaches being noted by police and a dozen or so premises being closed as a result of the breaches observed.
With over 3000 officers from the police, licensing and trading standards involved in this operation, all 32 London boroughs were covered by Operation Condor which took place over the weekend of 24th & 25th February.
There is no question that this sends out the strongest possible message to premises licence holders to get their house in order, make sure staff are all adequately trained and ensure supervision of their premises is sufficient.
The police statements following this operation talk extensively of working together with ‘their partners’. What the owners and operators of licensed premises must work more consistently towards, is developing a relationship where the premises licence holders are seen as a vital cog in that partnership; with everyone working towards the promotion of the licensing objectives.
If premises licence holders work with the responsible authorities, they will more often than not find the police and others provide them with assistance and guidance to help them improve their compliance; those who work against the responsible authorities, will find that the police and others regulate against them.
This type of sweeping police operation seems to be in vogue at the moment, it was only a few weeks ago that a similarly large co-ordinated operation targeted London’s gangs. The new police commissioner is obviously a fan of a more ‘all in’ approach to dealing with identified problems; in this case rogue licensed operators.
Remaining compliant is fundamental to the effective management of licensed premises; this will undoubtedly not be the last such operation. Professionally run premises have nothing to fear from such operations, they should in fact take great pride in showing off what they do well. Those who worry about any such future operation, should think why this is the case and start working towards ensuring that they get their public house in order.
There has been much talk of a ‘light touch’ approach to licensing and compliance over the Olympics with some leeway being given by authorities, but this will not apply to the fundamentals of licensing and we can expect to see more strong compliance work being carried out in the run-up to the games.
Update re: Operation Condor – Metropolitan Police
Date – 27th February 2012
Submitted by – Peter Mayhew is the Managing Director of Beyond the Blue Training & Consultancy.
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