Club did not warn police of potential disturbance: 'Ragga and rap act as a voice for black people . . . our youth identifies with it'

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The Independent Online
POLICE are expected to discuss improved security measures with the management of a west London music venue where a 700-strong crowd clashed with officers on Sunday.

A spokeswoman for Hammersmith police said Le Palais nightclub had not warned them of possible disturbances and no arrangements for reinforcements had been made.

Trouble erupted when police tried to clear a crowd outside the sell-out concert. Missiles were thrown, including bottles, bricks and cans. Later, windows were smashed and nearby shops looted. Local officers were reinforced by police in riot gear, an armed response vehicle and dog units. Seventeen people were arrested. Six officers suffered minor injuries.

Yesterday, the owner of a rival nightclub criticised Le Palais and said security back-up should have been arranged with the police beforehand, given the reputation of the American rap band, Onyx, which was playing.

Simon Parkes, manager of the Brixton Academy, said: 'Anyone who hosts a band whose lyrics are controversial and anti-establishment should prepare themselves for a highly volatile audience. If Le Palais had thought ahead and reserved 500 tickets for door sales on the night all this would never have happened.'

Four months ago there was a similar disturbance at Le Palais when a crowd of 500 forced its way in to see disc jockeys from Jamaica. Shots were fired, one man was hit in the back and neck and several people were injured in the crush that followed. Fans hurled bottles, bricks and CS gas canisters at police.

A spokeswoman for Le Palais said the club had warned people not to turn up on Sunday. 'We set up a telephone recording on Sunday morning asking fans not to come without a ticket but they chose not to take any notice,' she said.

Senior police officers said they believed that both recent incidents were isolated occurrences and not part of a wider trend.

Two men were yesterday charged with public order offences in connection with Sunday's incident.

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