A new move has empowered police to intervene and close down local pubs if they are causing a serious break of the law and public order.
South Down Alliance Party spokesperson Councillor Patrick Clarke has welcomed the new legislation effective from 10 December which allow a Senior Police Officer to close specific licensed premises or a private members club where disorder is occurring on the premises or in the vicinity.
The introduction of these new closure powers will also enable a court to order licensed premises or private members clubs in an area of actual or expected disorder to close for up to 24 hours.
Alliance Party Councillor Patrick Clarke said: “I welcome these new powers introduced by the Minister for Social Development, enabling the police to close down pubs and clubs in the event of disorder.
“Whilst I accept there are many very responsible licensee landlords of pubs and clubs, however, there are still those who feel they can flout the law by allowing anti-social behaviour in their premises. These new powers will help to deter anti-social behaviour in and outside pubs and clubs,” added Councillor Clarke.
The new powers will allow police to make an application to a court for the closure of licensed premises or registered clubs in any area where disorder is occurring or expected.
“The PSNI will use these powers where necessary in order to protect public safety. The new powers will only be used as a last resort and after all other options have been exhausted, so I believe that such measures will only be enforced by the PSNI in the event of major anti-social behaviour and disorder on licensed premises.”