Shisha lounges flouting the rules beware; a dedicated task group has been put together to clampdown on the increasing number of venues in Brent that continue to break the law.
Officers from enforcement services within the Council are teaming up with the Metropolitan Police for a 10 week operation designed to tackle the growing health and community safety concerns surrounding illegal shisha venues within the borough.
Officers will be visiting venues in the borough to ensure that they are abiding by the law without exception; including complying with smoke-free legislation, health and safety and fire safety regulations, and making sure no tobacco products are sold to anyone under the age of 18.
Smoking shisha poses the same health risks and diseases associated with cigarette smoking, but has been found to be more damaging as smokers often use shisha over a longer period of time. On top of the clear health impacts associated with shisha, all too often illegal venues have been found to create a smell and noise nuisance, and many found to foster environments where antisocial and violent behaviour are rife.
Leader of Brent Council, Muhammed Butt, said:
"Brent Council takes a zero tolerance approach to any shisha venue that is breaking the law. This new taskforce shows that we are listening to the concerns of residents and taking the issue extremely seriously.
"Too many of Brent's shisha cafes are in breach of their licences, and in some instances operating illegally without a licence. We are putting the safety and wellbeing of our residents first by cracking down on these venues.
Cllr Harbi Farah, Lead Member for Housing added:
"The message from Brent Council is clear: we will not tolerate any venues that are operating illegally or in breach of their licences. Anyone found to be doing so will face prosecution and take the likely risk of being permanently shut down'
Chief Inspector Tania Martin from Brent Police echoed Cllr Butt's comments, saying:
"Brent Police are working together with our Community Protection Partners and we will continue to conduct multi-agency enforcement visits on shisha venues in Brent. From a policing perspective this is due to an increase in anti-social behaviour and violence issues at some of the venues".