SOS – Southhampton Nightclub Junk needs your help

Southhampton’s longest and most respected underground nightclub Junk needs your help. Under fire from misleading press reports about recent activities outside of their control, they have issued a public plea to assist them in righting the wrongs of a clearly biased local newspaper and local Police.

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In a statement below,

Some of you may have seen a report from the Daily Echo this morning regarding our venue we believe that the report is somewhat misleading and does nothing to address the real issues of public safety in our city today.

Following a serious incident on London Road in January we had a closure notice served and spent a full day in court at a 24-hour emergency hearing where the Police suggested “affiliated London Gangs” were in operation at our venue – at the conclusion of this hearing we were given full support from the magistrate’s and the suggestion of our knowledge and involvement with any “London gangs” was thrown out – the case was closed and our venue was exonerated from blame / cause of the incidents. In court and under oath Police and magistrates praised our skills as operators and of both our management and doorstaff and agreed that we were not in breach of our license in anyway.

After being praised at the end of January there is now a police allegation that drugs and repeated violence due to a management failure over a sustained period of time is a problem at Junk. This is despite the fact that over the same period of time our efforts to work closely with police making various security changes and extra training supplied by the police resulted in the granting of an extension of our license operating hours with a new 3am last entry time from early Jan 2016.

It’s hard to understand how this change in police policy has come to light now and despite the above can justify a review of our license with the possibility of closure hanging over Junk again.

We would like to clarify how the venue sits regarding the impending review and the claims made against Junk in local press and the police report – including claims of “drugs and violence” at the venue which we strongly refute…

We were shocked and appalled by the incidents on the 22nd January which were committed by a small number of individuals – we have to point out that one stabbing took place viewable and adjacent to our venue but not on our front door and one stabbing took place on Carlton Crescent nearer to Richer Sounds & Ladbrokes who are not facing a review. No stabbings took place inside Junk and the club was closed at the time of these attacks.

Clubs do not have crystal balls and we could never predict such an event to occur but we do everything in our power to prevent them; we operate plastic glass policy, a challenge 25 ID policy and always over staff on our door and carry out searches. We cooperated fully with police at the time and offered our full support regarding the investigation with the hope that the police would catch the people involved who committed the crimes.

Since the event and at a considerable cost to our business we have laid on extra security measures with increased scanning of ID at the venue, searching of customers and increased CCTV surveillance – led by our “Rave Safe” campaign. This has led to a tightened door policy and some longer queuing times which have again damaged our reputation but as we put the safety of customers first we felt it necessary to make these changes.

The article/report also details a number of other incidents that have taken place at Junk over the past 15 months. These incidents are logged when our door team use the communal radio – Whiskey 1 – which is used by all venues to call in any incidents in or around the vicinity of a venue including nearby taxi ranks / other venues and is used to uphold one of the main licensing objectives Public Safety.

17 of the incidents were outside our front door and not inside our venue and 8 further incidents were deemed positive i.e. our door staff assisting police in trouble or drug seizures and a further 9 were alleged with no further action taken / unsubstantiated claims. That’s almost 75% of incidents not inside the venue / positive / no further action. The few remaining incidents are those when someone has been escorted from the premises in an instance of internal control due to their behaviour in the premises to once again keep the venue a safe place.

We’re disappointed that this use of Whiskey 1 has been used against us and what should be highlighted as positive door work is being criticised and begs the question why a venue would use the communal police radio if it may later be used against a venue trying to uphold the law.

With regards to a suggestion of drugs the venue has no history of drug offences. Any mention of drugs in the report are incidents where drugs have been seized and handed over to the police. Once again our positive work to assist the police in stopping drug crime is used against us. We know you need to sell papers Daily Echo but seriously…

As for the unsubstantiated claim of rape inside the venue… we cannot comment as the report suggests the claim was found to be false.

Violence of any nature is the antithesis of what we believe in. We are a music venue and have always operated to offer an alternative to Southampton’s nightlife pushing forward thinking music in Southampton. No clubs open to cause trouble / problems and we do focus heavily on safety however, we cannot be responsible for policing the city streets and while there is a focus on closing venues across the UK to reduce the pressure on public services with 75% cuts to night-time policing we feel we are being made the scapegoat for the lack of police presence during late hours. We want to work with the police to make the clubbing environment safe for everyone and have tried to do so at all times.

We’re in full support of our security team and we have one of the best head doormen in the city and pride ourselves on their high level of expertise, customer care and awareness and so we’re disappointed that they are being victimised for the actions of others – they put themselves on the line to protect others.

We will fight this review and do everything we can to save our venue from closure. We do not want to be the first in a series of revoked licenses where statistical policing with skewed numbers and figures are used ahead of the actual facts to destroy business and local nightlife culture to justify budget cuts.

If we are unsuccessful in this review process, then we will take it with pride and go out graciously and we’re happy to have served you for the years we have been in operation. We hope this isn’t the end and we will do everything to save Junk from closure.

We call on our fan base on the South, across the UK and internationally to support us as we undergo the review which shall commence on the 5th of May!

Westley Leigh DPS – Junk

About the Author

Loves long walks along the beach, holding hands and romantic 80's power ballads, partial to electronic music and likes to make the odd mix or two.