Club faces no action over drug death of teenager

THE Glasgow nightclub were a schoolgirl took drugs shortly before her death will face no action, despite police calls for its licence to be reviewed.

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City licensing chiefs said that despite the tragic circumstances surrounding the death of Regane MacColl last month they were constrained by the law and there were no failings by management at The Arches on the night the 17-year-old died.

After an almost four hour meeting the licensing board acknowledged the club had put in place further measures to mitigate against the misuse of drugs on its premises, claiming it was of the view that there were no grounds to review the venue's licence.

Actions open to the board included revoking the licence, which would have effectively shut the venue.

But The Arches said it will stick to its policy of restricting admission to its club nights to over-21s, with promises to ramp up security, searches and its anti-drugs policies.

During the meeting, Police Scotland argued the venue's licence should be reviewed as it had breached conditions on preventing crime and disorder and securing public safety.

More details also emerged about the minutes leading up to Regane's death and how she had been identified as being unwell by stewards in an outside smoking area, before an ambulance was called at 4am.

Regane died at hospital shortly before 8am.

It also emerged that two other people had been taken by ambulance from the club to hospital in separate incidents that night.

Inspector Duncan Evans levelled criticisms about The Arches, including a failure to have independent security assessments, that not everyone entering the venue was searched and that the police were only informed of drugs seizures if the substances indicated "dealer quantities".

The Police said they had been in discussions with the club's management since the incident, with club bosses agreed to more than 20 recommendations, including technology to identify false IDs, new drug awareness teams and even "moments of calm time" at club nights.

Archie McIvor, lawyer for the Arches, said: "Generally we agree with everything that has been said by the police.

"We have to put aside the natural, emotional reaction and look at the cold facts of this case within the legal framework for licensing.

"Looking at this case, there is little if anything that could have been done on this occasion.

"But we do have an ability to do everything possible to make sure something like this does not happen again."

The decision was moved by Concillor Bill Butler, chairman of the Board, who stated: "Having heard and considered very carefully all of the information provided to it, the Licensing Board is not satisfied that the grounds for review have been established.

"However, we would add that this finding in no way detracts from the seriousness of the tragic circumstances which led to the review hearing, but we can only act within the parameters of the law and the case law as it has developed."

A spokesman for the Arches said: "While no condition has been put on our licence to restrict the club to over-21s, that policy will remain in place at our own behest until further notice.

"We will continue to work with the police and other agencies to ensure as safe an environment as possible."

gerry.braiden@ heraldandtimes.co.uk

Transport Tragedy

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