Croydon police have been accused of “sweeping under the carpet” a complaint that they victimised a local nightclub on the basis of the kind of music it played and the type of people who visited.
Roy and Farrah Seda, owners of the Dice Bar, claim police told them to stop playing bashment – a form of Jamaican dance music – saying it was part of a wider campaign to shut them down.
They have handed over evidence to senior police, licensing officers and Croydon Council of what they say is prejudiced police behaviour at their club and other bars and clubs in Croydon, but claim that the authorities are not responding to their concerns.
They claim the police have attempted to close their club down, pressured them to change their style of music and complained about the people they let into their club.
Farrah Seda said: “It’s like authorities are sweeping things under the carpet, they are hoping it will disappear in time.
There’s just so much that the police have to answer for. They said you’re letting in unacceptable ICGs – which is the code for black people – into your club.
“Although they openly say we are not going to tell you how to run your business, they basically say don’t play bashment or else we will close you down. You know we are in a no win situation.”
The couple, who have owned the club for four years, provided emails and a voice clip which they say prove their allegations but are still waiting to hear a response from the authorities.
The recording is between the couple and Sergeant Michael Emery during a meeting at Croydon Police Station.
Sergeant Emery is heard to say that that the police had told the club to change their music. The Croydon Advertiser published the recording, which is linked below.
The Sedas also say they received an email from police asking them to remove bashment from their flyers and calling the genre “unacceptable” music in Croydon.
Superintendent Tarrant responded: “In carrying out our duty a number of allegations have been made by the Premise Licence Holder (PLH) about the conduct of our officers.
“We dispute those allegations. If the licence holder wants to make a formal complaint it will be fully investigated, and any evidence he has looked at.
“There were a number of crimes and incidents at the bar that we believed had the potential to put people at risk or become a victim of crime. This is not something we can accept, and so have a duty of act.
“Croydon has a thriving night-time economy, one that everyone wants to be as safe as possible and we will play our part in that.”
But Seda believes there is a wider issue. “I’ve spoken to the owners of other clubs around here, and they’ve said they’ve had the same experiences with the police,” he said. “But they don’t want to say anything on record.” His wife agreed, adding: “I think we just want to encourage other owners to speak up.”