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Angus councillors to vote on sweeping powers to immediately suspend licences

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Proposals to allow Angus councillors to immediately suspend the licences of taxi drivers, late night fast food vendors and other holders are set to go to full council, almost a year after elected members threw out similar plans.

The move comes after representation from Police Scotland who expressed concern at the time taken for requests to suspend licences to go before councillors.

The issue relates to activities “to which the licence relates is causing, or is likely to a serious threat to public order or public safety”.

Licensed premises such as pubs and restaurants are not affected by the proposal.

Councillor Craig Fotheringham, convener of the civic licensing committee which will oversee the new rules, welcomed the report and urged fellow councillors to back the new system at full council.

He said: “When this matter previously came before full council a year ago, it was rejected, for a number of reasons, by elected members.

“Since then, the police have made it abundantly clear that it simply takes too long under the current process to suspend a licence where an activity connected to it is a public nuisance or serious threat to public safety.

“On that basis, I would urge my fellow councillors to reflect on this and back the move.”

Mr Fotheringham said he wanted to make it clear that licences will not simply be suspended on the say so of police Scotland.

“I expect that these powers will be used very rarely indeed, but I do think it is important that we have this option available to protect the public,” he said.

“I appreciate that a suspension of up to six weeks could have a significant impact on the livelihood of a licence holder and their business, but I foresee this measure only being used in the most severe circumstances.”

Under the proposals, a decision to suspend a licence would be taken by a senior council officer and the convener and vice-convener of the civic licensing committee.

A licence could be suspended without the holder being present, and the case would then be heard at a later date by a full meeting of the committee.

The report will be scrutinised at a meeting of full council in February.

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