Derbyshire nightclub’s hours could be cut after being linked to 15 crimes including “serious violence”

Police want a Derbyshire nightclub’s hours cut after being linked to 15 crimes including “serious violence”, with some involving door security, “presenting a significant risk to the public”.
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A Derbyshire Dales District Council hearing will be held into the Bulan bar and nightclub in Dale Road, Matlock.

This could see the venue either stripped of its licence, no action at all or conditions or changes made to its operations – with the police wanting a reduction in opening hours and alcohol sale hours.

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Police want the opening hours and alcohol sales to be reduced by an hour on each day they are open, with the venue currently allowed to open until 3am on Fridays and Saturdays.

Bulan bar and nightclub in Dale Road, Matlock.Bulan bar and nightclub in Dale Road, Matlock.
Bulan bar and nightclub in Dale Road, Matlock.

A letter written by PC Lora Holdgate on behalf of Derbyshire’s Chief Constable Rachel Swann, details that there have been 24 police incidents comprising 15 crimes linked to the venue in the last “year”.

The police’s evidence details that incidents stretch from March 19, 2022, to August 6, 2023 – a year-and-a-half.

It says these include thefts, a sexual offence and 18 acts of violence ranging from actual bodily harm to grievous bodily harm.

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Three suspects have been charged following two of the crimes with the rest still currently under investigation, police evidence shows.

The three people were charged following a “brawl” involving door staff and customers on January 27, 2023 (two charged) and one on February 6, 2023, involving men punching a man several times causing him to fall to the ground.

Further issues relate to allegations of drug dealing, noise nuisances and breaches of licensing conditions by opening later than they are allowed.

Incidents include street brawls and smaller altercations with people being punched, kicked, stamped on and hit with glass bottles, with victims left unconscious, hospitalised and left with gashes and missing teeth.

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The letter details: “These incidents have created a significant demand on police resources within the Derbyshire Dales area.

“Police investigations can evidence that members of the public are coming to harm as a result of these crimes which go against the licensing objectives.”

PC Holdgate details that a recent incident involved a victim being punched, kicked and stamped on, hitting his head on the kerb.

A further incident in February, this year, involving an alleged assault in “full view of door security where the victim loses consciousness and nobody tends to him”.

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She writes: “Many of the violence incidents reported involve door security. Several incidents report door staff fighting with customers; the sexual assault reported is against an off-duty doorman; and a number of assaults name the security staff as potential suspects.”

East Midlands Ambulance Service has been called to the venue seven times since November last year, with four incidents relating to alleged assault and two to intoxicated people falling and injuring themselves.

PC Holdgate writes: “Although Bulan is not the only late opening premises in Matlock it has the latest licensable hours in the town.

“The crimes reported at this location are significantly higher than any other licensed premises in Matlock.

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“I have compared this data across other late-night bars and nightclubs across Chesterfield, Amber Valley and High Peak [and] Bulan still has one of the highest numbers of incidents reported to the police which has resulted in more victims of crime than in any other like premises.

“Bulan currently presents a significant risk to the public. There is a lack of compliance in certain areas of the premises licence and a reluctance to make reasonable changes.”

PC Holdgate claims the licence holder Luke Taylor and the designated supervisor John Taylor have both declined to voluntarily reduce their hours when asked by police.

She says there have been some improvements but that these have come too late and remain inconsistent.

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Detailed reports of each of the 24 incidents showcase a number of common themes, including door security staff not assisting in incidents in which victims require help, not contacting police about incidents which may be crimes and lying to police officers when they attend after reports of a fight – with CCTV confirming the lies; and suspects/aggressors of crimes being allowed back into the venue.

Alongside this, police repeatedly report the complete lack of security staff wearing high-vis jackets and body-worn cameras, despite management being consistently told that they need to do so.

An extensive witness statement from a door security company used by the venue alleges a wide number of issues relating to drug dealing, including claims that a known drug dealer was repeatedly being allowed entry through direct permission provided by management.

This includes the dealer having drugs confiscated but then allegedly returned to him, with other confiscated drugs also unaccounted for when removed by staff and handed to management.

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Police detail that one drug seizure was handed to police and three more were in a safe, with officers advising the venue to contact them regularly to collect them.

On April 26, CCTV footage showed customers still being allowed entry to the venue at 3.25am and the last customer leaving at 3.51am, despite the venue only having permission to host customers up to 3am.

PC Holdgate details in a witness statement that there have been “unacceptable levels of crime and disorder” linked to the venue, with 15 victims of crime “most of which is violent in its nature and some have involved very serious injuries”, leading to “putting the public at risk of serious harm”.

She says around half of the crimes occurred between 2am and 3am and “by reducing the opening hours of the premises I believe it will significantly reduce crime and disorder and lessen the public nuisance issues experienced by local residents and visitors to Matlock”.