Police call for review of 'poorly run' Northampton nightclub after incidents including sex assault investigation

Northampton Borough Council's licensing committee will investigate the request by Northamptonshire Police
Northampton Borough Council's licensing committee will investigate the request by Northamptonshire Police

Police have called for the licence of a ‘poorly run’ Northampton nightclub to be reviewed after a series of incidents over recent months - including an alleged sexual assault on a 17-year-old girl.

A hearing is set to determine whether the licence for Passion, on Sheep Street, should be reviewed after a request from Northamptonshire Police.

The force is concerned that the current designated premises supervisor is ‘not currently involved in the business beyond being a landlord for the current operator’.

Public papers also reveal that the police have attended a number of incidents, which it says has led to the request.

In July last year, Northamptonshire Police investigated two sexual assaults on two young females, one who was 17, and one who had just turned 18.

In the papers, which will be read by councillors, PC Chris Stevens says: “On this occasion neither female had been subject to any form of ID checks despite looking very young. They had both reported drinking alcohol in the venue and being befriended by male customers before leaving the venue in their company. This shows a lack of management direction when it comes to performing ID checks.”

One month before this incident, in June 2018, police had been called to the area after a party at Passion led to 300 people leaving the venue with no dispersal plan.

Police attended for 40 minutes and said there was ‘no support or action from staff’. Officers described the crowd as very ‘anti-police’ and would have made more arrests had there been space in custody.

In the end, one male was arrested and charged with an assault on a female, who sustained a black eye. Police said ‘no support’ was offered by staff.

Two further visits were made in November and on New Year’s Eve. Police said it was ‘very clear’ that the use of class B drug cannabis was taking place within the venue on its November visit. Officers said that staff were trying to mask the 'overpowering' smell with incense.

And on New Year’s Eve, the report states that a male on the door directing customers was known to them and ‘heavily linked to drug supply and possession’.

PC Stevens says: “The police believe that a review is necessary in order to establish who is legally responsible for the premises. It is clear that whoever is currently responsible for it is undermining licensing objectives and that measures need to be put in place in the form of conditions to ensure that the management practices are fit for purpose.”

Northampton Borough Council’s licensing committee will meet at The Guildhall on Thursday February 21, and are likely to discuss the review behind closed doors.