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Public excluded from Beavers lap-dancing club licence refusal meeting
The decision to refuse a sexual entertainment licence to Beavers lap-dancing club was made entirely behind closed doors.
The meeting started at 10.30pm and, with the exception of half an hour’s discussion over CCTV evidence, was closed to the public until the decision was taken to adjourn at 5.30pm.
The following day the decision to reject the licence was heard in public.
Committee chairman Jan Brown cited schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972, as the legal basis for excluding both the press and members of public.
The request to hold the meeting in private was made by Hertfordshire Constabulary, to enable officers to present evidence containing "confidential information".
Hannah Georgiou, from the police, said the exclusion was due to the discussion of sensitive information about covert police operations.
She added: "We hope the public would appreciate the need to take this unusual step which has meant that we could present a range of evidence, which ultimately has meant the council being able to enforce the licence regulations."
The Local Government (Access to Information) Act 1985 says all meetings of principal authorities must be open the public, unless dealing with confidential or exempt information.
Jeffrey Leib, Watford Borough Council licensing manager, said: "It was because of the risk of identifying confidential and personal information relating to individuals associated with the premises, who were not necessarily the applicants, and because of ongoing criminal investigations into some individuals."
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