Police commander of Mid Ulster District has said his officers attended the Elk’s festive teenage discos and that a file will soon be sent to the PPS.
Speaking to the Mail about the perceived ‘disparity’ in treatment between the Toome venue and Cookstown’s Sense Nightclub and Clubland, Superintendant Mike Baird said the Elk had been warned about the discos and had previously cancelled one on police advice.
When asked why it was not included when the Cookstown clubs were taken to court he said it came under a different police district then, and that he was not in position at the time.
But now that he is in charge, he said: “Let me assure you... we will treat all the clubs and the nightlife the same, and we have done so.
“We have been with the Elk on both occassions and we have warned them and a file is bsing prepared in relation to that.”
On the subject of the Glenavon’s conviction, Supt Baird said the club “did run a good show” but that his main concern was for the safety of children who did not get in.
“We deal with things under what the threat and risk is,” he explained. “A big risk for me was the teenage discos and the buses and that is why the Glenavon and Clubland were taken by the PPS. And the Elk is exactly the same.
“This, very much for me, is about child safety,” he continued. “I wasn’t attacking the licensed premises.
“The Street Angels and the reports that they can give you will show you the risks that children were under.
“My worry was a child getting adbducted or raped or killed.”
Since school formals and weddings can also take place on licensed premises the Mail asked if every venue hosting such events was also subject to the same law, if they involved children.
Suspt Baird said: “The difference for me for formals [and weddings], and this is my view on it in relation to risk, is that teachers [or parents] are there. They know what children are coming to the formals and the children are dropped off mostly by their parents, not buses.”