A Nairn hotel will be forced to close at 11pm every night after senior police officers raised concerns that it was a “threat to public order and safety”.
Inspector Dave Bushell, of Northern Constabulary, told members of Highland Council’s licensing board in Inverness yesterday that licensee Bob Beckwith of the Victoria Hotel broke the law by employing unlicensed door staff.
He revealed details of an alleged assault involving an off-duty door steward on the premises earlier this year and he urged councillors to restrict the hotel’s opening hours.
The police officer also highlighted concerns that representatives of the hotel had failed to attend meetings of the Nairn Pubwatch scheme in April and May, where publicans can share knowledge of disruptive customers.
Mr Beckwith failed to attend yesterday’s licensing board meeting, but last night he insisted his door staff completed their certificates three weeks ago.
Insp Bushell told yesterday’s meeting that police officers spoke to Mr Beckwith about the matter in February and the Security Industry Authority had issued a warning to his door staff in March.
He said the licence is a legal requirement and the training covers issues such as dealing with outbreaks of disorder, ensuring a safe environment and that drugs and weapons are not used.
The officer asked councillors to order the hotel to close at 11pm, as it needs door stewards to open any later.
He said that, in recent weeks, the bar had become increasingly busy after 11pm, with “upwards of 150 people” in there.
He added: “Their failure to have adequately-trained door staff is a threat to public safety.”
Mr Beckwith said: “There has been no trouble for 18 months since I took over. It used to be a really bad pub, but I have cleaned it up.”
He insisted he knew nothing of yesterday’s meeting and he said a door steward attended the last Pubwatch scheme meeting.
The licensing board agreed to imposing the evening restriction order on the hotel.