Back on the nightclub beat

It’s a bit of a stretch from handling high-end robberies, rough sleepers and disorderly nightclubbers in London’s West End to running a small family business in the West Country. That’s where Richard Bunch found himself a couple of years after his 2016 retirement from the Metropolitan Police.

Richard was living a pretty quiet family life until Complete Licensing came calling, luring him back to the bright lights and rekindling an involvement with policing the licensing trade stretching back almost 30 years.

As the Met’s former Licensing Officer for Westminster, Richard would have been top of anyone’s list to oversee compliance during and post-applications. He deals with everything from advising our clients on crime and disorder potential and close-circuit camera positions to incident reporting.

In truth, he didn’t need too much persuading. Hardly surprising after a career with Sussex Police and the Met as a detective in the major crime branch, investigating all high-level crime. This background led to Richard taking the role of crime operations manager and key decision-maker on charging standards within London’s busiest police stations.


There was also the small matter of overseeing 6,500 licensed premises in Westminster – everything from bars and restaurants to casinos, clubs, hotels and even supermarket off-licences.

“I’m really enjoying being involved in licensing from ‘the other side’,” says Richard. “My years of experience mean I can prevent potential licensing issues with police and other authorities.

“There are site visits – by me or another of our compliance team. They’re all ‘mustard’, really thorough advisers, and we make sure that every application we deal with is watertight because our reputation at Complete Licensing is of paramount importance.”

The Covid-19 pandemic has meant different ways of working and at Complete Licensing we have adapted to help our clients keep going as much as possible. Richard and his team have overseen applications for outside events permitted during the various stages of lockdown. And as hospitality has opened up again the business of checking conditions and compliance and advising on changes to working practises is in full swing again.

“Technology has helped enormously,” Richard says. “I can sit in my house in the West Country and watch CCTV at a venue in east London or the Home Counties and identify issues which need correcting. This new approach is the key to the way we operate. Flexibility and expertise make us a unique one-stop licensing shop.”