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'Police didn't need to close us down' says club boss
THE MANAGEMENT of a town centre club which was forced to close after a man collapsed on the dance floor have said police overreacted in dealing with the incident.
Officers were called to Lava Lounge, Fleet Street, at 1.15am on Saturday when a man suffered a head injury and started to bleed after falling over.
They cleared the venue while they dealt with the incident and the man was escorted to an ambulance. He was able to walk.
Club operator Andy Anderson said: “I feel it was a major overreaction by the police.”
Revellers left the venue en masse when the lights went up and the music went off and it was nearly 2am when the club was in a position to reopen, at which point Mr Anderson said it was decided it was not economically viable to do so.
Mr Anderson said the club’s priority was the safety of its customers and it had been the police who ordered the club to close while the man received treatment.
“The man collapsed for some reason and hit his head on the floor. The door supervisors called for assistance on 999.
“The venue was asked by police to turn the lights on and music off and the majority of the customers left the venue by 1.50am. With last entry at 2.30am it was not worth us opening the doors again.
“There were no fights and we have reviewed the CCTV and there is nothing untoward about the events leading up to him collapsing. He was walking wounded to the ambulance after he had been bandaged and we’ve not managed to find out how he is at the moment.
“I felt it was a major over-reaction – yes, a member of the public was injured and that’s our paramount responsibility but we feel we were put in a difficult situation. It would have been low key and was not to the extent where police come and cut the music and start kicking people out the club.
“I think the majority of customers were happy but I think one of the main factors is because we charge entry on a Saturday night, some of the customers who had just entered had only been there for 20 minutes to half-an-hour.
“In our defence there was not a lot we could have done about that.”
Mr Anderson said in his experience far more serious incidents in clubs in the town have not resulted in full-scale evacuations.
He said: “I supply door supervisors in town and there are incidents a lot worse than that where police have not closed the venue.
“I was at a different venue on Saturday but I arrived five to 10 minutes later.
“Had I been there I would have said ‘what’s your justifications for the venue closing’. By the time I got there it was too late.
“No statements were taken by police or door staff and there is no follow up action. It’s just one of those unfortunate things.”
Mr Anderson added he may consider lodging a formal complaint against Wiltshire Police.
“We will be taking legal advice because I don’t want to open a can of worms. The safety of our customers will come first.
“But we have also got to think Saturday night was the busiest Saturday night of the year, we are a new venue. It has not done us a lot of favours. It was a big financial loss for us.”
A spokesperson for Wiltshire Police said: “We were called following reports a male had fallen over in the club and was unconscious.
“The man was taken to the Great Western Hospital by paramedics and officers spoke to a number of witnesses inside the premises.
“The safety of the injured male and other members of the public inside the premises were top priority for officers at the scene and this was dealt with proportionately.”
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