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New council powers over lap dancing

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The publication of the Policing and Crime Bill has confirmed that local councils will be able to close lap dancing clubs if they are located too near 'inappropriate' sites such as schools.

Another proposal in the Bill is that sex workers who are repeatedly caught soliciting would have to attend compulsory rehabilitation classes.

The introduction of "transitional powers" to deal with existing lap dancing clubs is said to go further than originally billed.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith had already indicated that she expected the legislation to curb the growth in lap dancing clubs.

But Home Office minister Vernon Coaker indicated that the "transitional powers" contained in the bill would give local authorities the power to refuse to renew the licences of existing clubs if there were reasonalbe local objections.

Lap dancing clubs are to be clasified as 'sex encounter establishments' to remove them from the 2003 entertainment licensing rules.

The effect will be to allow local authorities to take far more account of the views of residents in granting new licences and to ban the opening of further clubs by declaring that a particular town or city centre has reached saturation point.

The Home Office minister Vernon Coaker also confirmed reports that plans to introduce direct elections for police authorities had been dropped.

Details of the bill

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