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Police fear plans for 24-hour Subway in Wembley will fuel crime

The Metropolitan Police have raised concerns about plans for a Subway restaurant in North London to open 24 hours a day. Officers fear it would add to the already high crime levels in the area, where 30 have been recorded over the past year alone.

The fast-food premises on Bridge Road in Wembley, which specialises in sandwiches, currently shuts at midnight from Sunday to Thursday and at 2am on Friday and Saturday. The franchise owner, Khurram Shahzad, has applied to Brent Council hoping to stay open 24 hours, seven days a week.

Mr Shahzad is expecting the change will result in more delivery sales rather than dine-in customers but the Metropolitan Police fear doing so will further fuel crime on the street. Officers were called to the area 43 times between September 2022 and September 2023, with 30 crimes being officially recorded in that time. Five of those were directly linked to the Subway.

In a document submitted to Brent Council’s licensing team, PC Phillip Graves states: “Allowing this venue to operate on a 24/7 basis is only going to add to an already high level of crime in the area. Attracting more people, a vast number of whom will be under the influence of alcohol, will add to the crime and antisocial behaviour.”

He adds: “Police resources are already stretched all hours of the day. The night time policing levels are even further stretched and would struggle to police a potential night time economy in a residential area.”

The Subway falls within the Wembley Triangle CIZ (Cumulative Impact Zone) – areas where licences are strictly controlled to limit any problems. Whilst the CIZ is designed for alcohol licensed premises, the police formally objected to the plan on the basis that it is an illustration of the “high crime levels” in this part of Brent.

Mr Shahzad responded to the issues raised by police by stating that he is committed to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of the local community, with the focus being on increasing the number of delivery orders, as opposed to dine-in customers, to create lower levels of foot traffic in the area.

The owner claims extending the opening times is essential in order to generate more sales to address the “significant financial challenges” the company is facing. Mr Shahzad fears failing to do so will threaten the future viability of the business.

He added: “Given the presence of neighbouring 24/7 off-licence shops and our proactive approach to addressing potential concerns, we are confident that our operations can coexist responsibly with the existing establishments in the area. […] if any problems were to arise during our late-night operations, we are committed to promptly addressing them and, if necessary, reverting to our normal operating hours.”

Brent Council’s licensing enforcement officer is also calling for the extension of the opening hours to be refused over the potential “cumulative impact” more customers could have on the area. The officer claims Mr Shahzad needs to do more to demonstrate that the plans wouldn’t bring more crime to the area.

Documents submitted by the council’s licensing team state there has been a “significant and notable increase” in alcohol related crime and antisocial behaviour. It claims this is having an “adverse impact in some areas and neighbourhoods, generating complaints from residents, councillors, and the police.”

A decision on whether or not to grant the licence will be made by Brent Council’s Alcohol and Licensing Sub-Committee on October 16.

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