North East McDonald's plays classical music and switches off WiFi to get rid of troublesome young gangs
McDonald’s pumped out classical music to gently disperse gangs of youths, a meeting has heard.
The McDonald’s restaurant branch also switched off WiFi to discourage youngsters from loitering around the premises at night.
Representatives of the branch of the fast food giant in Dalby Way, Coulby Newham, revealed their imaginative tactics at a meeting of Middlesbrough’s Licensing Committee as they sought approval for a licence to open 24 hours a day.
Addressing how the branch deals with antisocial behaviour, the barrister representing McDonald’s, Freddie Humphreys, said: “We have all sorts of ways of dealing with it.
“For example in the past if we’ve had youths in the early part of the evening getting a bit loud, we can turn off the WiFi.
“Nowadays people come in to use the WiFi – we just sort of turn that off then people start to leave.
“We have other things such as putting classical on over the speakers as well.”
The committee heard that Cleveland Police had submitted no objections to McDonald’s opening for 24 hours after the restaurant confirmed it would operate a CCTV system which retains images for 31 days.
The only objection came from Cllr David Branson, Labour councillor for Coulby Newham, who cited fears that the restaurant risked becoming “a base for so called ‘county lines’ drug operations with young people being groomed for carrying out drug related crimes”.
Addressing the issue of protecting children from harm, Mr Humphreys said: “We’ve not really had any issues with children in the later part of the – from 9pm until 12am.
“McDonald’s has extensive training packages it can roll out to its staff. One of the things being considered at the moment is, should the licence be granted, we have a very robust child sexual exploitation training package we can roll out.
“It has been developed to a high level with the police and that’s the kind of training we can roll out once a licence of this nature is approved.”
Cllr Stefan Walker, Labour councillor for Coulby Newham, said that while he had anecdotal experience of problems regarding youths in Coulby Newham, there were no police statistics indicating any particular issues at McDonald’s.
Having heard all representations, the chairman of the Licensing Committee, Cllr Ron Arundale, indicated that the council would approve McDonald’s application, allowing the Coulby Newham restaurant to open 24 hours a day.
Formal approval will be sent in five working days.