Barring strip clubs will ‘make the Forest safer’

By Forester Reporter   |   Reporter   |
Monday 25th April 2022 6:00 am
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Nick Evans
Cllr Nick Evans called for a ban on strip clubs opening in the Forest of Dean. (FODDC )

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A BAN on allowing strip clubs to open in the Forest would make the district safer for women and girls, says a local councillor.

Nick Evans (Con, Tidenham) put a motion before the Forest Council last week urging action on the “misogynistic” establishments.

While there are currently no such clubs in the district, he said it would send a message about the importance of keeping women and girls safe.

He also highlighted a loophole in current law which means any licensed establishment can hold up to 11 such “shows” a year.

His motion gained cross-party support at the meeting of the full council last Thursday (April 14).

It called for action to prevent the opening of strip clubs and for local licensees to sign up to a voluntary scheme to notify the council and police if they are to put on sexual shows.

The motion said sexual entertainment venues “creates an environment which permits misogyny, licences the objectification and sexualisation of women and creates a threatening environment for women and girls around such establishments.”

He told the council: “Sexual Entertainment Venues, or strip clubs, are the state sanctioned public objectification of women and girls. Their clientele is drawn in, usually as a result of a good night on the town, and suitably ‘entertained’. Then, usually when they have run out of money, they are turned back out onto the street onto the unsuspecting wives, girlfriends, or random members of the public who just want to enjoy a good night out themselves. They create a threatening environment women and girls, and we should take the steps outlined in this motion to help put an end to that.

“While, we do not have any formal strip clubs in the district at present, do we really want any?

“This motion seeks to make it clear that this is objectification of women is not the sort of activity that we seek to condone in the Forest of Dean in 2022, and would, I believe, be the first rural area in the country to set a so-called nil-cap.

“This motion also seeks to go further and be innovative, closing a loophole that many of our residents will not be aware of.

“Before I started researching this subject, I was not aware of the fact that any club, pub or even licenced café, can turn itself into a strip club 11 times a year, and not have to tell anyone.

“Not the police, the licencing authority and certainly not their neighbours.

“I’m sure many of you will be as surprised as I was about this loophole.

It’s a piece of primary legislation (the Policing and Crime Act 2009) that, in my view should be changed.

“In the absence of that, the voluntary scheme I propose introducing can at least en sure that the authorities are aware of planned activity, and can carry out the appropriate checks to ensure that licence conditions are being followed, and performers are safe.

“Because that’s what this motion is about ultimately, improving the safety of women and girls in the Forest of Dean.”

He said the motion would “take real practical steps, to put warm words into action.”

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