BURGER giant McDonald's has been thwarted in its bid for longer opening hours at its North End Road branch on the orders of police after 31 crimes were recorded there in three years.
The chain applied to Hammersmith and Fulham Council to close at midnight seven days a week, which is an hour later than its current closing time. But police said they believed an extension would increase crime in an area which is known for problems at pub closing time.
Officers said the branch is a known crime hot-spot and, in a report that went before a licencing committee hearing on Monday, said offences including robbery, affray, actual bodily harm and criminal damage had been recorded there, sometimes involving gangs of fighting youths.
The most serious incident happened in April last year when two groups had a fight using weapons, resulting in charges being brought. The report also raised concerns over the branch's inadequate provision of CCTV. Officers have requested footage following several offences, including after a pick-pocketing, fraud, a bag snatch and an incident of racial abuse, but on each occasion manager Kalpesh Patel was unable to provide the evidence.
On another occasion officers demanded to see footage of teenagers pulling out chairs and smashing them into weapons to threaten two other youths outside, but this also wasn't captured on film.
Sergeant Stuart Ratcliffe said in the report: "It is the opinion and experience of police the provision of CCTV has not been timely
or effectively managed within this premises. Police feel this undermines the application."
Officers have launched a crackdown on drunk and antisocial behaviour in Fulham Broadway and feared the green light for McDonald's' application would have undermined their work in implementing a 'strong dispersal policy' for drunks.
Sgt Ratcliffe said: "This ensures people are removed from the area quickly and therefore reduces the opportunity for nuisance behaviour and crime to occur. By encouraging people to remain in the area and consume food a flashpoint will occur.
"We think any increase in operating hours will result in an increase in crime."
McDonald's said its CCTV policy is 'robust' and understood it has a 'duty' to the local community.