A KEBAB shop has accused the police of “ganging up” on them as officers seek to block new opening hours amid anti-social behaviour fears.
Mehmet Kutlubay applied for permission to open the Istanbul Kebab House on 67 Victoria Street, Windsor, for late night refreshments until 3:40am on Wednesdays.
His legal representative David Dadds said at a licensing sub-committee they are only extending its Wednesday’s closing time by two hours in order to serve patrons leaving the nearby Atik nightclub.
He said the club now closes on a Thursday and opens on a Wednesday.
It also wants to open until 4:30am on the Sunday before each Bank Holiday, Christmas Eve, and New Year’s Eve.
But Thames Valley Police (TVP), the council’s licensing team, Atik, Eton and Castle ward councillor Samantha Rayner, and a Windsor business and resident objected, triggering the hearing on Monday, March 28.
Inspector Mike Darrah, who oversees Windsor and Maidenhead’s night-time economy, said this mid-week extension is “unreasonable” and will “disproportionately affect” local residents with crime and disorder.
TVP believes the anti-social behaviour and noise they see and hear on a Friday and Saturday night will occur on a Wednesday night, which would cause an “additional drain” on their resources if approved.
Along with their representation, the police submitted written statements from officers who have witnessed rowdy behaviour, uncontrolled crowds and queues that spill into the street, and fights – some of which claim the kebab shop’s door staff are “not proactive” to manage or intervene.
TVP also submitted multiple incident reports where fights occurred between night goers in the early mornings around or near the premises. Some reports claim the door staff had “no control” of the crowds.
Incident and crime Sergeant Alasdair McLullich claimed the door staff did not assist him when he was assaulted by a male outside the premises in 2020.
Inspector Darrah said: “Looking at the data from a Friday and Saturday night, it is clear that if they [Istanbul Kebab House] open up on a Wednesday, there is going to be an increase in crime and disorder and anti-social behaviour as a result on Victoria Street.
“It is inevitable because that is where everyone goes. That’s our flashpoint and we are getting exactly that on a Friday and Saturday night as well as a Thursday night.”
But Mr Dadds said he was “very concerned” with TVP’s approach to the Kebab Houses’ application and accused officers of “ganging up” on Mr Kutlubay.
He said: “We’ve had 17 years of trading, and 15 years of those have been made before Covid, and we’ve traded without any real course or material course of concern as such the police have provided no primary evidence whatsoever about the trading on Thursdays – none.
“We used to have a condition pre-2016 that said we used to have a doorman on Thursday but that was removed because there are no issues of crime and disorder on Thursday.
“So, that even strengthens the position that mid-week there is not a matter of concern. Us trading on Wednesday, we have done successfully for 15 years. We’ve done so even removing the condition of doormen on a mid-weekday.”
Mr Dadds also said TVP has never provided a verbal or written warning to the premises about these concerns.
He added the shop owner has always had an “exceptional relationship” with the council and has always been “helpful” and “polite” with licensing.
He also said there’s no evidence of incidents that link the premises to other incidents apart from one ongoing investigation of a domestic incident between two brothers, who were former employees, that occurred at the shop.
“It’s throwing off mud and hoping it will stick. Well, that’s unacceptable,” Mr Dadds told committee members.
Inspector Darrah denied TVP are “ganging up” on the premises, adding: “We are responding to an application that he has put in for an extension to that license.”
Mr Dadds offered to amend the application to close the premises at 3:40am on either Wednesday or Thursday rather than both.
Councillors sitting on the licensing sub-committee will make their final decision within five working days.