Nightclub has licence suspended after fatal Birmingham stabbing – The Guardian

Move, applicable for 28 days, comes after police criticism of security at the Crane as ‘ineffective’
A Birmingham nightclub where a man was stabbed to death on Boxing Day has had its licence suspended for 28 days after police said security was “ineffective”.
Officers arriving at the Crane nightclub found a scene of “chaos and evidence of drug use”, West Midlands police said in its application for the licence suspension.
One of the city centre sergeants attending said: “There were hundreds of small drugs bags and nitrous gas canisters all over the dance floor. These include the small and the very large nitrous oxide canisters with balloons.”
The officer said that after entering the club, staff asked for help with “crowd control” but instead police ran in to help paramedics trying to save Cody Fisher’s life.
Birmingham council’s licensing sub-committee granted an application on Friday from West Midlands police for a review of the premises’ licence under section 53a of the Licensing Act “aimed at tackling serious crime and serious disorder, in particular (but not exclusively) the use of guns and knives”.
Footage from a camera worn by police officers showed staff “wandering around all over the place and it is like they are oblivious to what is happening”, the sergeant said. In addition, nightclub staff had begun to clean the dance floor, where Fisher lay dying, showing they had “no idea how to manage the situation or preserve the scene”.
As officers attempted to resuscitate Fisher, the footage showed people “just wandering around in the scene freely”, the sergeant said.
The application said: “West Midlands police are concerned as to how a knife has been able to get inside the premises. Any control measures the premises may have had have been found ineffective.
“This is compounded by the fact officers have seen evidence of drug use within the venue, which was openly on the dance floor. Also the chaos noted by officers with staff seemingly having no idea of how to manage the situation or preserve the scene, again pointing towards lack or poor control measures and training.”
Police had been called to the club after staff said a man had been stabbed. “It transpired that there had been a fight on the dancefloor and in this altercation the victim had been fatally stabbed,” the application said.
Duncan Craig, a lawyer representing Crane’s licence holder, Damian Eston, said that “given the horrific circumstances”, the club did not oppose the application for a temporary licence suspension.
“It seems wholly appropriate that we then have a 28-day period to reflect on what’s happened and assist West Midlands police with their inquiries into this horrific crime,” said Craig.
“There are one or two issues that my client takes with some of the matters that are asserted in the review application and it’s hoped that 28-day period will also provide an opportunity to develop a better understanding of what happened on that dreadful night.”
Most of the licensing committee meeting was held in private at the request of West Midlands police so as not to prejudice the criminal investigation.
Granting the police application on Friday, councillor Diane Donaldson, chair of the subcommittee, said Crane’s licence would be suspended pending a full review hearing, which must be held within 28 days.
The club, which is spread over five floors of a renovated Victorian warehouse, only reopened in October after a refurbishment.
Seven people have been arrested in connection with the murder.


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