Kingston Council has suspended Essence nightclub’s licence after a fight early Saturday morning involving up to 30 people.
Five people were arrested and several others were injured during the altercation.
Police filed an application with Kingston Council’s licensing sub-committee, who met and decided on the suspension last week.
Details about the brawl emerged during the meeting from police testimony. One person was thrown into the Thames. Shovels and scaffolding from a nearby construction site were used as weapons. More than 33 Kingston police officers were called to the scene. Police said the “ferocity” of the brawl was comparable to that of the London riots in 2011.
Club-goers saw two men being held on the ground by police and several trails of blood in different areas outside the club entrance. One witness said he saw a man being hit over the head with a piece of scaffolding.
CCTV at the club was not working that evening. Police stated they had no record of any of the staff calling emergency services. Police cited the staff having “little or no control” over the situation as a significant reason for the incident getting out of hand.
Michael Bromley-Martin QC, the barrister representing Essence, explained to councillors that the club has determined the promoter, known as “Trio”, to be the problem due to the type of clientele the promoter attracts to Friday night events. He had asked that the licence be temporarily suspended with conditions, including lowering the maximum capacity and having security officers stationed along the river.
Essence nightclub has some history of violence. A Met Police report shows between 2006 and 2011 there were 14 incidents at Essence considered to be “violent assault”. Since September 2013, there have been four notable incidents of violence involving club patrons.
The licensing sub-committee will have a full review of Essence’s licence within 28 days.