March 11 2014 Latest news:
Friday, January 31, 2014
A nightclub that temporarily closed following a brawl involving 40 clubbers armed with champagne bottles, knives, and a “firearm” has had its opening hours cut by councillors and its door policy of charging women who were “not hot” criticised.
Four people were taken to hospital with stab wounds and serious injuries when a fight broke out in NWC nightclub, Finchley Road, Swiss Cottage, during a promotional event for a brand of vodka.
Reports from police, who received multiple 999 calls in the early hours of December 22, said the trouble began when a man was the victim of a “feral attack” by five other men armed with champagne bottles.
The assault, which left the victim “motionless”, was said to have “set a tone” for multiple further disturbances, with up to 40 people involved in fights on the dance floor.
When one man entered the club concealing an object, people on the dance floor were said to have “descended into panic” with some shouting that they had seen a gun.
About 100 revellers spilled outside and fights continued in the street.
A police helicopter, 30 officers and three ambulances were called to the club.
The drain on resources was said to have been so extensive that special constables were left without the use of cars and had to travel to emergencies by bus.
Police said the club demonstrated “gross incompetence” and “extreme neglect towards a victim of crime”.
They also criticised the “anti-police” crowd, and held concerns over the “objectivity” of the door staff who were told to charge a £10 entrance fee for women who were “not hot”.
Camden councillors agreed last Thursday to change the time the club closes from 4am to midnight on Saturdays and Fridays.
Cllr Chris Knight, a member of the licensing panel, said: “It is our job to ensure the safety of people and this club was not being run responsibly.
“No risk assessment was done, CCTV was of poor quality and staff swept up a crime scene before police could examine it.
“This isn’t about not wanting a nightclub in Swiss Cottage – nobody minds a well run establishment.
“This is about us doing our job to ensure people’s safety.”
He added: “In my mind the owners have had a very lucky escape.”
The nightclub’s management, Elite Privee Ltd, is said to be “disgusted” by the violence and is improving security.