Hackney agrees late night levy to fund policing and community safety
The levy is expected to raise almost £400,000 per year, with the proceeds to be spent on managing the impacts of the night time economy, including additional enforcement by the Police and Hackney Council enforcement officers.
Hackney has over 1,000 licensed premises, with 429 licensed to sell alcohol between midnight and 6am. From 1 November, all premises in Hackney that are licensed to sell alcohol between midnight and 6am will pay a levy on top of their licensing fee.
Around 40 businesses in Hackney already take part in a voluntary scheme, raising around £56,000 per year. This voluntary levy has helped to fund additional patrols by Council enforcement officers on Friday and Saturday nights in Dalston and Shoreditch. The service has been well-received by residents and is central to addressing anti-social behaviour in the area.
The Council wants to help support and sustain the borough’s nightlife, which has made a valuable contribution to wider cultural and economic growth, however it has also had an impact on public services, with increased levels of anti-social behaviour, crime, noise nuisance and litter. Responding to these issues creates an extra cost for the Council and Police at a time when budgets are already extremely stretched.
Hackney Police estimate the cost of policing the night-time economy in the borough to be around £1.4 million per year, of which £890,000 is specifically required to fund the dedicated Night-Time-Economy teams.
Evidence included in a report to the Council last year suggests that there is a strong correlation between the locations of licensed premises and the level of crime and disorder which warrants this action.
The Council consulted on the proposed levy from February to May this year, writing to all late night licensees asking for their feedback. 52% of respondents supported the proposed levy, with 48% opposing the proposal.
Borough Commander, Detective Chief Inspector Simon Laurence, said:
“I am proud to be the Borough Commander for Hackney Police: our mission is to prevent crime and keep people safe. Hackney is a popular and vibrant place to visit and socialise and we dedicate resources specifically to the night time economy to work with the key partners and keep the area safe. With limited resources this is becoming more difficult to achieve – especially with late night licenses that run into Bank Holidays as officers are entitled to a premium payment should they work beyond 7am - so I will welcome extra funds in order to help keep Hackney a safe place to live, work and enjoy.”
Hackney has a great reputation as a destination with an exciting and original entertainment and hospitality offer, but this can come at a cost to public services and have an impact on the quality of life in the borough. There can be problems with late night noise, anti-social behaviour and litter. The late night levy will help public services manage this impact by paying for more police officers, enforcement officers and street cleaners into the early hours of the morning.
The late night levy expands and formalises the voluntary levy that local businesses and the Council established in Dalston to help support local public services managing the streets in the town centre.
The aim of the late night levy in Hackney is to ensure that public services can support a successful night time economy, whilst helping to mitigate the environmental impact on local residents and that visitors enjoy their visit to the borough, returning time and again to enjoy what Hackney’s businesses have to offer.