Digging for information: Council wants your views on sexual entertainment venues.
By Bill Heaney
Do the local public want licensed sexual entertainment venues – strip clubs – in West Dunbartonshire?
The cash-strapped council licensing committee, which curently makes decisions on controversial matters such as the two Orange Walks, which will take place in Dumbarton and Vale of Leven this weekend – has embarked on an expensive evidence gathering process seeking the public’s views on the licensing and regulation of SEV’s.
The SNP administration, led by Cllr Jonathan McColl, wants to know whether local hotels and public houses – essentially places which currently sell alcohol – should be required to have a licence before they can legally put on strip club-type performances for their customers.
The consultation conjures up visions of entertainment venues along the Bonnie Banks, for example, featuring men and women divesting themselves of Highland dress and doing unimaginable things with bagpipes.
So far as The Democrat knows, there are none of these venues operating here at present, but for the innocent and uninitiated, the council feel they have had to explain what constitutes a Sexual Entertainment Venue?
The legal definition, according to the 1982 Act defines an SEV as any premises at which sexual entertainment is provided before a live audience for (or with a view to) the financial gain of the organiser.
For the purposes of this definition ‘audience’ includes an audience of one. Financial gain’ includes financial gain arising directly or indirectly from the provision of sexual entertainment.
Sexual entertainment, according to the document published on the council website, means any live performance or any live display of nudity which is of such a nature, ignoring financial gain, “reasonably assumed to be provided solely or principally for the purpose of sexually stimulating any member of the audience”.
And “display of nudity” means: in the case of a woman, the showing of (to any extent and by any means) her nipples, pubic area, genitals or anus; and, in the case of a man, the showing of (to any extent and by
any means) his pubic area, genitals or anus.
However, the 1982 Act provides that premises where sexual entertainment is provided on no more than four occasions in a twelve month period are not to be treated as an SEV.
Red lights send different signals in different places. above red light district in Amsterdam.
In particular, the Committee is seeking views on:
- Whether a licensing regime should be adopted to licence and regulate SEV’s;
- What the appropriate number of SEV’s in West Dunbartonshire, or localities within West Dunbartonshire, should be, if SEV’s were to be licensed;
- and if the Committee were to decide to pass a resolution to licence SEV’s, what matters should be taken into consideration in the development of an SEV policy statement. A draft SEV policy statement would be subject to a separate consultation process.
The public document states: “Consultation is an important first stage in determining whether or not SEV’s in West Dunbartonshire should be licensed and if so, responses will assist in the development of an SEV licensing policy statement if required”
It asks whether SEV’s should be licensed; what the appropriate number of SEV’s should be within West Dunbartonshire and seeks your views on these matter
Also whether there should be an SEV licensing policy statement and standard licence conditions and seeks views if SEV’s were to be licensed and regulated.
Changes to the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 allow the Council to introduce a new licensing regime for sexual entertainment venues (‘SEV’s’). As a result of these changes, the Licensing Committee can now decide whether SEV’s in the Council’s area should be licensed.
As it is a discretionary licensing regime, it is for local authorities to determine whether they wish to licence SEV’s. If a local authority chooses to licence SEV’s, it must determine what the appropriate number of SEV’s should be in its area, and the appropriate number within each relevant locality within
People are being asked to indicate in their response the capacity in which they are responding and to respond by October 22, 2021.
QUESTIONS THE COMMITTEE ARE SEEKING VIEWS ON:
- Whether you believe that imposing standard conditions to SEV licences would assist in safeguarding the wellbeing of performers, customers and the wider public?
- Whether you think that any of the example standard licence conditions noted above should be adopted as policy and included as standard conditions in SEV licences? Where possible, please could you explain your answer.
- Are there any other standard licence conditions that you think would be relevant?
- Can you make any other suggestions as to how the Committee could adequately address the licensing objectives within an SEV policy statement, these being:
– Preventing public nuisance, crime and disorder
– Securing public safety;
– Protecting children and young people from harm;
– Reducing violence against women