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24/06/13 11:11

Sexual entertainment venue consultation

New plans to give communities more say on licenced venues in their area.

A consultation designed to give local communities more say on sexual entertainment venues in their area is being launched by the Scottish Government today (Monday, June 24).

As well as allowing people to have more control on the number and location of venues such as lap dancing clubs through local licensing arrangements, the consultation aims to ensure the safety and protection of customers, staff and performers.

The consultation also seeks specific views on whether licensing authorities should be able to set the total number of licenses for such venues in their areas at zero.

The Government is launching the consultation after plans to put in place a licensing regime were rejected during the last Parliament. Ministers committed at the time to return to these in due course.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said:

“It is right that local people should have the ability to have a say in the character of their communities.

“This consultation seeks views on proposals that will give local licensing authorities the powers to reflect local views and control the presence and operation of such venues in their areas.

“These venues undoubtedly divide opinion, however the proposed licensing regime is about ensuring the safety and protection of customers and workers while making sure the interests of local communities are protected.”

Chief Inspector Morag Stewart, Licensing and Violence Reduction Division, Police Scotland said:

“Keeping people safe is a priority for Police Scotland and we welcome the Scottish Government's consultation on the proposed licensing of Sexual Entertainment Venues as an opportunity to further regulate these activities, prevent the exploitation of vulnerable individuals, predominately females, working in this environment and to more effectively tackle any involvement of serious and organised criminality.”

Notes to editors

The consultation is available at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/publications

Adult entertainment licensing would not cover any illegal act, such as brothel keeping or trading in prostitution.

A specific system of licensing for sexual entertainment was considered by Parliament in 2010 as part of the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010. Whilst the Scottish Government supported such a move, Parliament rejected these proposals, in part because they were introduced late in the Bill process and had not been subject to scrutiny.

Licensing boards previously considered adult sexual entertainment alongside the alcohol licensing of venues. However, court judgements called into question the ability of licensing boards to set conditions beyond a tight focus on the sale of alcohol.