Croydon police are refusing to answer questions about allegations they unlawfully shut down a town-centre nightclub and ordered the venue not to admit black customers.

In April Croydon’s licencing officers faced an embarrassing defeat in their bid to reduce the opening hours of Dice Bar in High Street when a Croydon Council licensing committee threw out a police application to alter the venues licence.

Speaking on Friday for the first time since the licensing hearing, the borough commander of Croydon police said he “stands by” the more than 400 pages of supporting documents they submitted to the licensing committee.

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But Chief Supt Andy Tarrant said: “I have decided that I won’t talk about the Dice Bar because I think we have to talk about moving forward now.

“We have given Roy the opportunity to come in and talk to us and hopefully that discussion will be had, so it might be wrong for me to comment at this stage because we have invited him in.

“But I stand by the material we submitted to the committee.”

The police’s application for the council to review the licence, signed by Sergeant Michael Emery, alleges venue owner Roy Seda “systematically failed” to uphold licensing objectives meaning “patrons are regularly put at risk of harm” and cited more than 50 concerns police with the venue dating between January 1, 2015 and February 21 this year.

Following the meeting, the Met faced claims it had misled councillors and the press by claiming it had not ordered the venue to stop playing bashment music - a Jamaican genre, also known as dancehall - that Mr Seda said police had told him was "unacceptable".

RELATED: 'They have thrown in the kitchen sink': Dice Bar owner claims police are doing everything to shut venue down ahead of licence review

In a statement submitted to the hearing, Mr Seda claimed police told him not to admit black customers into his venue and alleged there was a "racist undertone" to officers' actions.

A recording of a meeting earlier this year between Mr Seda, his wife Farrah, who co-owns the nightclub, and licensing officers appears to prove the venue was pressured to stop playing bashment.

In the clip, Sgt Emery, head of the borough's licensing team, says: "You were told about this before Christmas. Why has it taken until now to decide now that you want to change the music?"

During a separate meeting, Sgt Emery is also alleged to have pressured Mr Seda not to admit black customers to his club, an allegation Sgt Emery categorically denied at the hearing.

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Roy Seda and his Dice Bar team following the licensing hearing

Chief Supt Tarrant defended his officers’ actions and said the tape was not proof the force had told Mr Seda not to play bashment music.

He said: “We haven’t got the context of that tape, you get about two lines of conversation.

“We haven’t heard what has been said either side of those comments.

“We have had letters in from people who say they could understand why we would ban bashment – I am not saying we did.

“I have had people come up to me and understood it, our independent advisory group have been briefed and shown footage and documentation and they are comfortable with the actions we took.

“If you are asking us if we, Croydon police, have banned bashment music the answer to that, as we have said many times before, is no we haven’t.”

RELATED: Dice Bar owner: Police 'do not want black people going out' in Croydon

Police have faced growing pressure in recent months to change their nightlife strategy as Croydon Council looks to improve the town centre’s ailing night-time economy.

Venue owners say their relationship with police has “completely broken down” blaming heavy-handed policing and a perceived bias against clubs and promoters putting on events playing certain types of music.

Chief Supt Tarrant said: “We have had several productive meetings since the Dice Bar hearing with a number of licensees, we never stopped having a dialog with those licensees.

“We look forward to working with them and making the town centre even safer.”

RELATED: Dice Bar owners planning legal action over "completely unlawful" closure by police

Superintendent Des Connors said the force had responded to concerns that a heavy police presence on weekends was deterring people from going on nights out.

He said: “The policing plan changed after all of the stuff with the Dice Bar review, we had to listen to what people are saying because that was the criticism that was levelled at us.

“We modified the tactics in the terms of the number of officers that are deployed in the town centre taking on board that concerns than some people had.

“All we want is for people to be safe and to be able to go out and enjoy themselves.”

Chief Supt Tarrant said police were keen to shake the “perception” that the force uses a heavy-handed approach to patrolling the town centre, adding: “Some venues like that and some don’t so the challenge for us is trying to meet somewhere in the middle.”