• Gloucestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Chris Nelson says the time has come to make a stand against sexual entertainment in the County
• He is calling on Cheltenham Borough Council to reject a request from local venue Two Pigs to have its sexual entertainment license renewed for next year’s National Hunt Festival
• A recent survey by Cheltenham Borough Council highlighted the vast majority of women feel less safe on the town’s streets during race week and had suffered from some form of sexual harassment
• Mr. Nelson said “Long term, we need to close the loophole that has allowed those who profit from the public objectification of women, and that will need a change in the legislation. This is the time for strong political leadership and a debate that changes attitudes on this highly complex issue”.
Gloucestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Chris Nelson says the time has come to make a stand against sexual entertainment in the county.
As a first step, he is calling on Cheltenham Borough Council to reject a request from local venue Two Pigs to have its sexual entertainment license extended during the National Hunt Festival.
The application, which is due to go before the council’s licensing committee tonight (Wednesday), has attracted a number of objections and is also opposed by the Gloucestershire Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre (GRASAC) and the Nelson Trust, two local charities supporting vulnerable women.
Mr. Nelson said “An application of this nature in the current climate of increased concerns around women’s safety is totally inappropriate. It’s time that as a County, we said ‘no’ to this sort of venue.
Two pigs is the only venue with a Sexual Entertainment Venue Licence in Gloucestershire, and is applying to renew its previously granted licence as a Sex Establishment for six days during race week in March 2022.
Under current legislation, any licenced premises is allowed to provide lap dancers/sexual entertainment 11 times per year but with at least a month apart. This allows different venues to ‘pop-up’ and offer similar entertainment for one night each during the meeting without any regulation around conduct and safety.
“This is the time for strong political leadership”
Speaking on BBC Radio Gloucestershire this morning, Mr. Nelson said “I understand the council’s dilemma because the law, as it stands, puts them between a rock and hard place. Refusing the Two Pigs’ application means it’s possible that other venues will pop-up in their place – but that is no excuse for doing nothing.
“The council’s own survey highlighted the fact that 75% of women feel less safe on the town’s streets during race week and 82% had suffered from some form of sexual harassment. As politicians concerned about community safety, we cannot ignore that.
“I appreciate there is no simple solution but we cannot on the one hand say ‘something must be done’ and then not take that action when an opportunity presents itself. I would like to see the licensing committee make a start tonight by refusing this application and would then encourage councils in the County to review their policies towards sexual entertainment venues.
“Long term, I will also be campaigning to close the loophole that allows these clubs to pop-up without notification to the police or councils, with no protection for performers and no consultation with local residents.
“This is the time for strong political leadership and a debate that changes attitudes on this highly complex issue”.