Glasgow lap dancing clubs face ban under new legislation
Local authorities may have the power to licence clubs as Sexual Entertainment Venues (SEV).
By Courtney Cameron
Glasgow could become the first city in Scotland to ban lap dancing clubs as the council starts a consultation on licensing the venues.
Only an alcohol licence is required for these clubs to operate but under new legislation, local authorities have the power to licence them as Sexual Entertainment Venues (SEV).
This would mean tighter regulations on how they are run and promoted.
Glasgow currently has four lap dancing venues in operation; Diamond Dolls, Platinum Lace, Seventh Heaven and Forbidden.
The consultation is asking the public's views on what the appropriate number of SEVs should be - if any.
Legislation allows local councils to set the cap at zero - effectively banning the clubs from operating.
However, if the council were to go ahead and licence venues, they are asking the public what areas of the city they should be situated in and what conditions should be attached.
Licence conditions could include full details of performers to be available for inspection and immigration status checks to safeguard against human trafficking.
Other conditions may include extra security measures to ensure performers are able to leave the club safely and the regulation of the display of advertisements on or connected to the venue.
Megara Furie, a spokeswoman for the adult entertainment branch of the GMB Union, believes lap dancing clubs are already a safe environment to work in.
She said: "I don't have much of a problem with the licensing part of it itself, but it's when they are trying to close down clubs and push the clubs out.
"What happens to these workers? We've got almost 700 workers in Scotland and where do they go?
"It's going to displace them and put them into dangerous situations."
Megara, who has over 15 years of experience working in the adult entertainment industry, added: "This job isn't going to go away, all your going to do is remove all the safe guards that are already in place.
"Right now, they have CCTV in every corner of the clubs, everything is monitored and there's a massive security force. There's a zero tolerance policy in all of the clubs in Glasgow.
"It's something that's taken very seriously."
An SEV is defined as "any premises at which sexual entertainment is provided before a live audience for (or with a view to) the financial gain of the organiser".
Marie Penman, a former councillor and woman's activist believes there's no place in society for lap dancing clubs.
She said: "They're not really healthy in a modern society because they perpetrate this myth that women should always be sexually be available and that men can pay for them to do whatever they want them to do. It doesn't lend itself to an equal society I don't think.
"I think these clubs are outdated and are a thing of the past. I'd be happy to see them banned.
"It's right and proper that public opinion is being sought - I think a lot of people are frightened to speak out on issues like this.
The consultation will run until August.