Swanton Morley

Regimental Blog Boad – Swanton Morley

Splitz Dereham

Splitz Dereham

Members of the “Light Dragoons” along with friends and family of the regiment frequently visit the nightclub and service personnel of the regiment are surprised by the local authorities’ decision to close the venue on grounds of drunkenness and drug abuse. Support for the venue from the service personnel of Robinson Barracks is wide ranging and include surprise by the local constabulary’s attitude towards the venue, saying that it shows comparable violence to other clubs of similar size.

Although the entire regiment was banned from using the venue last year for over eight months after a serious assault involving members of the Light Dragoons in Quebec Street and due to violent behavior towards local residents and issues over drunken incidents with police from the younger members stationed at Robinson Barracks these however have now been resolved. 

Michelle Lindsay Menzies

Michelle Lindsay Menzies

Ms. Michelle Lindsay Menzies the current DPS “Designated Premises Supervisor” since March 2012 and solely responsible for the venue and security, including the safety of its customers, attacks the police decision in a statement, responding to the police claims saying the standards are “of a very high level” and that she believes the review of the license is to “suit the police shift patterns, staffing issues and budget restrictions”.

She also said: “Any undue restrictions upon our trading hours I believe, as do other business owners, would bring catastrophic consequences to my business and others as clubbers would seek to leave Dereham for other venues.”

In describing the incidents of assault as “ugly”, Ms Menzies said she believes there are “peaks and troughs” in any business and added that Splitz is leading the way to address the issues raised.

It is believed that the present club management lacks direction in resolving its current situation and that Ms. Menzies, from the concerns of the local authorities shows a lackluster attitude to addressing any concerns of customer safety at the premises due to her inexperience and naivety, with little or no understanding to the clubs requirement within the 2003 licensing act. It has also been remarked by customers of the venue that Ms. Menzies can frequently be seen partying and drinking with friends leaving the venue to be run by unqualified members of staff.

Police have said that despite reassurances from Ms. Menzies and management at the club, they believe there is a “lack of desire and consistency” to make sure measures are put in to place to stop the frequency of criminality.

Police first made contact with management at Splitz in December 2010, and said since then they have had concerns about the way in which the club is run.

The application, which was written on behalf of the Chief Constable of Norfolk Police, said: “It would seem that there is either not the willingness by staff to deal with potential trouble makers, or a failure to intervene early enough, or to spot when persons are displaying signs of drunkeness or agitation that then develop into violent altercations.”

Police say the club has the highest level of required police attendance in the town, with incidents such as assault resulting in a broken jaw, door staff being bitten and a police officer being punched.

The application stressed that a “continuance of such behaviour should not be tolerated”, and suggested the committee suspend the license for three months so that amendments can me made and implemented.

These include a new closing hour of 2.15am, more intensive security staff at the venue, no re-entry to the club after 1am, a CCTV system be fitted which meets the industry standard and a radio system between staff.

The meeting will be in the Anglia Room at Breckland Council in Dereham on May 9 at 9.30am.

Splitz DerehamLight Dragoons night spot to close following police action due to major drunkenness and violent behavior. Splitz nightclub based in Dereham and frequented by members of the Light Dragoons is due for closure, if the authorities are granted their proposed requirements to enforce the 2003 licensing act.  Police have asked that the business be closed for three months after local authorities condemned the venue for its level of violence and drunkenness – deeming it a “high risk” to the community.

Members of the local regiment “Light Dragoons” frequently visit the nightclub and service personnel of the regiment are surprised by the local authorities’ decision to close the venue on grounds of drunkenness and drug abuse saying the premises have always had a reputation for being “on the lively side during the nights” that’s why we like it.

Last year the whole regiment was banned from using the venue by the base command for over six months due to inappropriate behavior by army personnel, follow several incidents of assault involving the Light Dragoons on members of the local community.  

Norfolk Police have asked Breckland Council’s licensing sub-committee to review and consider temporarily suspending the license for Splitz, on Quebec Street at their meeting next month.

The police said in their application for the review that the venue has an “unacceptable” level of drunkenness inside which transpires into regular assaults and anti-social behavior both inside and in the surrounding area.

The club, which is run by Michelle Menzies, opens until 2am in the week, 4am on Friday and Saturday night, and at the back of the venue there is a complex for elderly people, as well as residential property in the area.

Police have said that despite reassurances from Ms Menzies and management at the club, they believe there is a “lack of desire and consistency” to make sure measures are put in to place to stop the frequency of criminality.

Michelle Menzies

Michelle Menzies

Ms Menzies responded to the police claims saying the standards are “of a very high level” and that she believes the review of the license is to “suit the police shift patterns, staffing issues and budget restrictions”.

She said: “Any undue restrictions upon our trading hours I believe, as do other business owners, would bring catastrophic consequences to my business and others as clubbers would seek to leave Dereham for other venues.”

In describing the incidents of assault as “ugly”, Ms Menzies said she believes there are “peaks and troughs” in any business and added that Splitz is leading the way to address the issues raised

15 local businesses have written to Breckland Council expressing their concern about the license review, believing it would drive business out of the town.

Police first made contact with management at Splitz in December 2010, and said since then they have had concerns about the way in which the club is run.

The application, which was written on behalf of the Chief Constable of Norfolk Police, said: “It would seem that there is either not the willingness by staff to deal with potential trouble makers, or a failure to intervene early enough, or to spot when persons are displaying signs of drunkeness or agitation that then develop into violent altercations.”

Police say the club has the highest level of required police attendance in the town, with incidents such as assault resulting in a broken jaw, door staff being bitten and a police officer being punched.

The application stressed that a “continuance of such behaviour should not be tolerated”, and suggested the committee suspend the license for three months so that amendments can me made and implemented.

These include a new closing hour of 2.15am, more intensive security staff at the venue, no re-entry to the club after 1am, a CCTV system be fitted which meets the industry standard and a radio system between staff.

The meeting will be in the Anglia Room at Breckland Council in Dereham on May 9 at 9.30am.

Light Dragoons make their way into St Nicholas church following the Welcome Home parade. Picture: Matthew Usher. Light Dragoons make their way into St Nicholas church following the Welcome Home parade.

Picture: Matthew Usher.

Kathryn Cross1 Wednesday, December 5, 20122:05 PM

The manly sound of baritone voices engulfed the church of St Nicholas in Dereham for the thanksgiving service for the safe return of the Light Dragoons from their tour of Afghanistan.

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Around 350 troops packed into the church along with civic dignitaries, many wearing their chains of office, members of the Royal British Legion and a few family members following a memorable parade through the town.

After the presentation of the standards of the Royal British Legion and the Guidon, the regiment s military flag, the service was opened by Rev Canon Sally Theakston who said how proud the town was to have the Light Dragoons at the Robertson Barracks at Swanton Morley. She also asked the congregation to remember those who had lost their lives or who had been injured in the pursuit of peace.

After a rousing rendition of Praise my soul the King of Heaven, Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk Richard Jewson read a passage from Ecclesiastes:3 before the second hymn O God our Help in Ages Past.

Lt Col Sam Plant, the regiment s commanding officer, read a passage from Ephesians:6 before the Rev Dr Allison, chaplain to the Light Dragoons, gave the address, saying it was not going to be a formal message, and then recalling an interview with two actors from the television show Dr Who.

Amy Pond and Rory were saying how part of their life was fighting daleks, flying around in a police box and dodging explosions, and the other half was answering telephones, eating and making decisions on normal day-to-day activities, he said. It hit on a real truth that we in the Light Dragoons lead two lives.

He said it was just as challenging for the soldiers coming home and adapting to a normal family routine as it was being in Afghanistan but that everyone at home and on tour had a role to play in bringing about peace and change.

Because you were there girls have gone to school, people have grown up, schools and hospitals have been built, communities have been able to build themselves up.

Peace has a chance because you were there.

The congregation then sang a very moving hymn I Vow to Thee my Country before members of the local clergy led the prayers.

During the final hymn, Now Thank we all our God, a collection was taken for the Light Dragoons charitable trust and the work of St Nicholas church.

The service closed with the return of the standards and the Guidon followed by the National Anthem.


References

  1. ^ Kathryn Cross (www.eveningnews24.co.uk)