Police officers called to mass brawl in Dalkeith

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A MASS brawl at a miners’ club resulted in every single on-duty police officer from two Scottish counties racing to the scene.

Police chiefs called in officers from all 14 police stations in East and Midlothian after a battle erupted involving up to 60 drinkers.

The disturbance at Dalkeith Miners’ Welfare Social Club in Midlothian even resulted in an armed response vehicle being called out, according to the secretary of the club.

Police have reported 42 incidents at the Woodburn Road Premises this year

 

Police have refused to reveal how many officers were called in to regain control, but it is understood several dozen were involved.

The incident, which happened earlier this month, was revealed at a meeting of Midlothian Licensing Board.

Police produced a list of 42 incidents over the past year at the club’s premises in Woodburn Road, which hosts regular cage fighting contests.

The police report said of the mass brawl: “A police patrol observed several small skirmishes, which deteriorated into a large-scale disturbance involving between 50 and 60 persons.

“The officers had to request assistance, and every officer in East and Midlothian had to attend to gain control of the situation.

“Four arrests were made, however, there could have been significantly more arrested.

“An officer was injured as a result of the disturbance.”

Police noted over-consumption of alcohol, overcrowding, ineffectual staff and premises outwith the control of the manager as issues raised by the incident.

As a result of the “divisional assistance shout”, officers were called in from police stations as far away as Dunbar, 25 miles, and North Berwick, 22 miles.

It is not yet clear whether East Lothian and Midlothian were left without police cover during the incident or whether officers had to be drafted in from Edinburgh and the Scottish Borders to cover.

Club officials immediately agreed to a 14-point action plan, including improvements in door stewarding, the signing-in policy and the monitoring of patrons.

But it emerged at the licensing meeting that three days after the battle, police carrying out a routine check of the club found no signing-in books at the club entry and over-consumption of alcohol in a list of 13 issues.

Councillor Joe Wallace was furious at the club.

He told the meeting: “I find it incredible that…members of the [club’s] committee agree to push through proposals to stop this kind of thing and, then, just three days later, this happens.

“The over-consumption of alcohol seems to come through in this report time and time again.”

Councillor Wallace called for an immediate review hearing to consider the future of the club’s licence.

But club secretary George Munro said: “This incident has been blown out of all proportion. I believe even the firearms squad was called out that night and there was no reason for doing that.

“Somebody cut their hand in the club and he was treated there by our trained first-aiders. But he refused an ambulance, refused a taxi and exited the club.

“He refused to leave the area and, because it was nearly closing time, a lot of people were coming out and I think the man’s friends became involved.

“Of course we have a duty of care, but we are only covered by insurance inside the club.

“If somebody wants to call the police for something that happens outside the club, we cannot stop that.”

He added: “Forty-two incidents in a year sounds a lot, but you have to remember that we have between 500-600 people in the club every week, so that’s about 30,000 in a year.

“The vast majority of the incidents did not raise licensing issues or warrant further action.

Police called for a review of the club’s licence in August last year after noting 29 incidents.

But Councillor Adam Montgomery (Lab) defended the club at the time, saying the report gave the impression that the Dalkeith club was “in the middle of Tripoli”.

A Lothian and Borders Police spokesman said: “This was a proportionate response that made best use of the resources available at the time.

“At any stage in an incident resources will be diverted if priority calls are received, and there were sufficient resources on duty elsewhere in the division to deal with any other incidents that occurred.”

 

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