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Met Police warn of spike in crime if Westminster coffee shop is allowed to sell booze

By Hannah Neary, Local Democracy Reporter

The Met Police fear plans to open a new coffee shop could increase stealing in the area.

Coffee Island wants to open a cafe and sell booze in Westminster, but officials worry it could cause a spike in local crime.

The business wants a licence to run a coffee shop and sell small bottles of alcohol to customers at a new store in Upper St Martin’s Lane, near Leicester Square.

But The Met has objected to the plans, claiming it could worsen existing issues with people stealing booze and drinking in the street.

PC Andy Elliott said the Met fears the shop’s plans to sell small bottles of booze could lead to increased crime and disorder in the area in a letter to Westminster City council.

He said: “As a responsible authority the Metropolitan Police Service is objecting to the application… on the grounds of undermining the licensable objectives namely the prevention of crime and disorder.”

He added: “The area has widespread long-running issues with street drinkers entering premises and stealing small portable miniatures and vessels of alcohol for personal consumption within the public realm.”

PC Elliott also asked for the business to make clear that it doesn’t support people drinking in public, will only serve alcohol from waiters or waitresses, and have a CCTV system in operation.

Anil Drayan, an environmental health officer for the council, said the sale of booze at the coffee shop could disturb locals.

He said in a report: “The supply of alcohol and for the hours requested may have the effect of increasing public nuisance in the area.”

Coffee Island said it would install and manage CCTV at the premises, not let patrons drink alcohol outside the business, ask customers to “leave quietly” and report any crimes that happen on the site to the police.

In a letter to the council, they said: “Alcohol will be sold at small, ready-to-consume pre-packed bottles, over the counter for consumption at the seating area. Alcohol for sale will be small bottles of wine, bottled beer and already mixed small bottled cocktails.”

The council will make a decision at a meeting today.

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