POLICE fear a new strip club in one of Hounslow's 'crime hot-spots' will put officers under increased pressure.
Hounslow sector inspector Huw Evans claims Mist Gentlemen's Club, which opened a fortnight ago in High Street, near the junction with Bell Road, will put a greater demand on already stretched resources.
The lap dancing club, formerly a snooker hall, is open from 8pm to 4am throughout the week, which police are worried could cause more problems on surrounding streets during the early hours.
"We have to be aware that Hounslow town centre is a crime hotspot," said Inspector Evans. "Violent crime in this area is twice that of any other ward in Hounslow. We're working hard to address that, but with limited and possibly reducing resources.
"The Comprehensive Spending Review means we're likely to have fewer police officers next year. Do I put the officers I have out at 4am or during the day? We can't police at the same levels 24/7."
Addressing a heated audience at last Thursday's Hounslow central area committee meeting, Mr Evans also revealed that he and borough commander David Bilson had only heard about the club from a member of the public weeks
before it was due to open. Angry people demanded to know why they had not been made aware of the application during the 28-day consultation period.
Hounslow Council's licensing officer, Gary O'Shea, said the three Hounslow Central ward councillors were informed and a notice had been published, in line with the usual procedure.
However, the ward councillors claimed they had been on holiday at the time and it was too late to respond by the time they received the details.
As a result of public concerns, Mr O'Shea said councillors will in future be told about all licensing applications in neighbouring wards. One young woman said she was 'disgusted' the club had been allowed to open and claimed it would make her and other young women feel less safe walking through Hounslow at night.
"I think it's seedy and disgusting," she added.
Mist's owner, Pritpal Dhiman, has claimed his club has all necessary security measures in place and will bring in a 'good class of clientele'.