MUSIC promoters have been told they must sit an exam if they are to hold events in Croydon town centre.
Croydon police have introduced the requirement following an increase in violent offences and antisocial behaviour connected to the night time economy.
But they rejected claims, made by one club owner, that they are trying to ban drum and bass and other types of urban music from town centre venues.
The force says requiring organisers to have the British Institute of Innkeeping Awarding Body (BIIAB) Level 2 Award for Music Promoters qualification will make pubs and clubs safer.
A spokesman for Croydon police said the policy was unconnected to a large scale fight outside Yates' bar in High Street on December 21, which led to multiple arrests for affray and assault.
Licensees, who were already required to complete a risk assessment and notify the police 14 days before promoted events take place, were informed of the changes at a meeting of Croydon Pubwatch earlier this month.
Esther Sutton, landlord of The Oval Tavern and Pubwatch chairman, said she supported the measure.
"There are issues within Croydon's late night economy and it's up to us to work with the police to minimise the risks," she said.
"The town centre has incrementally been getting safer but there has been a recent spike in incidents. We're very keen to put things in place to make sure we get everything back under control.
"Requiring promoters to have a formal qualification will help but we're also using Croydon Safer Radio (a communications link between premises) to its full advantage, adopting a zero tolerance approach to people who pre-load before they come to our venues and we're working together to exclude people responsible for crime and antisocial behaviour.
"We're under pressure but it's very much in everyone's interests to make sure the town centre is a safe place."
Last week the Advertiser reported that, despite a fall in overall crime, violent offences increased 33 per cent in 2014. A large proportion of those incidents occurred in the town centre.
According to one club owner, who asked to remain anonymous, the police are concerned about events featuring certain genres of music.
He spoke to the Advertiser after an event planned at his venue for January 31 was cancelled because the promoter lacked the proper qualification.
The promoter later posted on Facebook: "I have to cancel this event sorry peeps [the club owner] has just come out of the police station and [they] have told him he has to play pop music only in his venue for the time being because the police are trying to "clean up the town", so no drum and bass."
We asked the licensee about the event and were told it had been booked late last year but, when he informed police it was happening, they pulled the plug.
"There's a new rule which is if a promoter wants to have an event in Croydon, they have to go on a course," he said.
"I was told by the police I couldn't have the event because [the promoter] had not gone on the course.
"There was a massive kick off at Yates' in December. It was awful and now the police are being very careful about what is happening in the town centre. They want to clean it up."
He added: "We've been told [the police] don't want drum and bass parties and they don't want 'bashment' (Jamaican music).
"Sometimes those sorts of events can cause trouble because the promoters only care about making money. They don't care who they attract to the town or what goes wrong because they don't have to deal with the repercussions.
"I'd booked this promoter at the end of last year. We've had them here before. They're fine but you never know what might happen on the night."
Croydon police claimed to have no involvement in the event's cancellation and denied it was targeting specific types of music, adding that a drum and bass night was held in the town centre on Boxing Day.
A music promoter usually works independently from a venue, booking bands or DJs before advertising the event and selling tickets.
The BIIAB Level 2 Award course is assessed by a 35-question, 40-minute multiple choice examination, in which candidates are asked about topics including licensing laws and risk assessments, as well as contracts and noise pollution.
A Met Police spokesman said: "We've recently asked venues in Croydon town centre that, if an event is being held at their venue by an outside promoter, then the promoter should hold relevant BIIAB qualifications.
"Promoters that have the BIIAB qualifications will have had formal training on how to run and promote safe and secure events and we can have confidence that any promoters with these qualifications will be taking the appropriate measure to prevent any crime and disorder.
"Any decision taken by police to prevent a promoted event being held in Croydon will be done so based on concerns it could lead to crime and disorder or be a threat to public safety, regardless of the type of music being played."
Could you be a music promoter?
HERE are some sample questions promoters will have to answer if they are to organise music events in Croydon.
1. Which one of these would be classed as a business event?
A. Reading Festival
B. The Ideal Home Exhibition
C. Chinese New Year celebrations
D. A music event led by a well known DJ
2. Which of these is an advantage of using an agent to sell tickets for an event?
A. It eliminates the need for any cash transactions which improves security
B. Customers do not have to queue in person or on the phone to buy tickets
C. It provides immediate accessibility to tickets from both the home and workplace
D. Tickets can be delivered directly to the customer which speeds up entry to the event
3. Which of these terms is used to describe the arrival and departure of customers from an event almost all at once?
4. Staging a live music event at a premises which is not licensed to host such an event can incur a maximum penalty of:
A. £5,000 fine and/or 3 months imprisonment
B. £10,000 fine and/or 3 months imprisonment
C. £15,000 fine and/or 6 months imprisonment
D. £20,000 fine and/or 6 months imprisonment
5. If the person on the door suspects that a piece of ID has been tampered with or does not belong to the person presenting it they should:
A. Refuse entry to the venue if they suspect the person is under the age limit for the event
B. Retain the ID and pass it on to the management of the venue
C. Allow the person entry but make sure that the person is not served at the bar
D. Ask a colleague to verify whether the ID is genuine or not
Answers: 1. B; 2. D; 3. D; 4. D; 5. A