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No action over Arches licence after Regane death

THE high-profile nightclub where a schoolgirl had taken drugs shortly before her death will face no action, despite police calls for its licence to be reviewed.

Licensing chiefs in Glasgow said that despite the tragic circumstances surrounding the death of Regane MacColl last month they were constrained by the law and there were no failings by management at The Arches on the night the 17-year-old died.

After almost four hours the licensing board acknowledged that the club had put in place further measures to mitigate against the misuse of drugs on its premises, claiming it was of the view that there were no grounds to review the venue's licence.

Allow the law does not allow for the punishment of venues with suspensions down to give them time to rectify problems, actions open to the board included revoking the licence, which would effectively shut the venue down.

But The Arches has said it will stick to its policy of restricting admission to its club nights to over-21s, with promises to ramp up security, searches and its drug policies.

During the meeting, Police Scotland argued the venue's licence should be reviewed as it had breached conditions on preventing crime and disorder and securing public safety.

More details also emerged about the minutes leading up to Regane's death and how she had been identified as being unwell by stewards in an outside smoking area, before an ambulance was called at 4am. Regane died at hospital shortly before 8am.

It also emerged that two other people had been taken by ambulance from the club to hospital in separate incidents that night.

Inspector Duncan Evans levelled criticisms about The Arches' including failure to have independent security assessments, that not everyone entering the venue was searched and that the police were only informed of drugs seizures if the substances indicated "dealer quantities".

It said it had been in discussions with the club's management since the incident, where The Arches agreed to over 20 recommendations, including technology to identify false ID, new drug awareness teams and even "moments of calm time" during club nights.

Archie McIvor, lawyer for the Arches, said: "Generally we agree with everything that has been said by the police.

"No club operator can cure society's problems and there is a huge problem with drugs out there. But operators can do their level best to ensure that people enjoy their night out in as safe an environment as possible. That's the approach the Arches has taken here.

"We have to put aside the natural, emotional reaction and look at the cold facts of this case within the legal framework for licensing.

"Looking at this case there is little if anything that could have been done on this occasion.

"But we do have an ability to do everything possible to make sure something like this does not happen again."

The decision was moved by Cllr Bill Butler, chair of the Board, stated: "Having heard and considered very carefully all of the information provided to it, the Licensing Board is not satisfied that the grounds for review have been established.

"However, we would add that this finding in no way detracts from the seriousness of the tragic circumstances which led to the review hearing, but we can only act within the parameters of the law and the case law as it has developed.

"We also fully acknowledge and accept the Chief Constable's reasons for bringing the review before us.

"We would expect both the police and licensing standards officers will not only continue to work with the licence holder, but will monitor very closely the implementation, and indeed effectiveness, of the practices, policies and procedures."

A spokesman for the Arches said: "While no condition has been put on our licence to restrict the club to over-21s, that very policy which we adopted recently will remain in place at our own behest until further notice.

"We will continue to work with the police and other agencies to ensure as safe an environment as possible."

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Transport Tragedy

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