Report (2nd Day)
Policing and Crime Bill
Baroness Gale (Labour)
My Lords, I support my noble friend Lady Gould, and am pleased to support Amendments 36, 37, 43, 53 and 54. She has already outlined the reasons for these amendments, but I will mention a few things in addition.
The purpose of the amendments is to close loopholes in the proposed licensing regime for lap-dancing clubs and to ensure a consistent approach across the country. Lap-dancing clubs are currently licensed solely under the Licensing Act 2003, and share the same licence as cafes and karaoke bars. These lax licensing laws mean that, since the introduction of the 2003 Act, it has become a lot easier for lap-dancing clubs to obtain licences, and far more difficult for local communities to have a proper say in whether a licence should be given in their area. The flat exemption for all venues hosting lap dancing less than once a month will leave local authorities powerless to enforce any regulations on such events, and could make it difficult to prevent the growth of lap-dancing sub-markets. Venues hosting lap dancing less than once a month are less likely to have facilities and procedures in place to protect the safety of performers, such as separate changing rooms, CCTV and security. It is therefore crucial that these venues are not exempt from the new licensing controls in order for local authorities to apply conditions that would ensure the safety of performers.
I am pleased to have added my name to the amendments of my noble friend Lady Gould. I hope that the Minister will take note of the strong reasons for the amendments, which I am sure he will. I look forward to his reply.