Hackney club Shapes has closed its doors in response to an allegation of rape.
Owner Seb Glover surrendered his licence ahead of a town hall meeting on Tuesday after police called for the venue to be shut down. The alleged attack took place in March during Kinky Salon London, a private party that aims to create a safe space for attendees socialize, dance and engage in sex and BDSM activities.
Police called for a licence review after the club failed to deliver CCTV footage when requested, reports Hackney Gazette. Licensing officer Sgt. Guy Hicks said the club’s reluctance to provide footage led him to believe the cameras were not recording and added that the interaction gave him “serious concerns” about Glover’s management.
“I have never had a venue premise license holder make such cynical attempts to avoid giving investigating officers CCTV,” he wrote in his report.
In a statement sent to the Gazette through lawyers, the club said it didn’t accept any crime had taken place in the venue and said it was waiting for police to conclude the investigation. The venue also said it had released the CCTV footage after receiving an “appropriate request” from officers.
A spokeswoman for Shapes said the closure was primarily due to the fact that its lease was ending on July 31. The club “took a commercial view that, whilst wishing to defend its reputation at the hearing, the cost of doing so would be prohibitive,” she said.
Update, July 29: Shapes has contacted FACT to reject Hackney Police’s claim that the club had hindered the investigation.
In an email, Glover said that the alleged attack was reported three weeks later, not days later.
“Furthermore, the event was private and so was not running under its premises license, so the CCTV was handed in voluntarily to the investigating officer,” he added.
In a statement, Shapes said police had failed to view the CCTV by June 9, seven weeks after it was handed over on April 23. “Therefore, it cannot be said that Shapes has hindered the criminal investigation for not releasing the CCTV sooner.”
The club pointed out that it has since been granted Temporary Event Notices for each of its final weekends of operation, stating: “Why would the Police grant us these extended licences if they believe there is crime and disorder at the premises?