The new image of Birmingham's Broad Street as one of the safest night spots in the West Midlands has been tarnished by an out-dated police perception of violence and anti-social behaviour, it is claimed.
Allan Sartori, a director of the Broad Street Business Improvement District (BID), said that he was staggered at a police description of the entertainment quarter's 33 bars and clubs as a hot spot for trouble.
Mr Sartori is considering filing an official complaint after comments made by Pc Abdul Rohaman when he was objecting to an application for a 24-hour licence at the new Mischkas bar.
Pc Rohaman, who is urging the council licensing committee to reject the application, insisted: "Broad Street remains one of the hot spots for anti-social behaviour, violent crime and public place wounding."
He pointed out that the police and council already paid #250,000 a year to provide additional security for the area and argued that another bar would only stretch limited police resources further.
The comments infuriated Mr Sartori, who owns The Rocket lap dancing club on Broad Street and was one of the prime movers behind setting up the BID - a public-private sector partnership which is ploughing more than #2 million into making the area safer and more attractive.
Mr Sartori said the police comments would only reinforce an outdated and unfair image of the street.
He added: "Speaking as a BID director, these remarks just staggered me. Last week we had a board meeting and there was a senior police officer there going through the crime figures. The recollection I have is that crime is going down and that incidents of violence are going down.
"We have worked incredibly hard over the past two years and spent a lot of money to change the perception of Broad Street and as far as I am concerned we have changed it. Hundreds of thousands of people are entertained in the area, crime levels have never been lower and the street has never been safer.
"It is now one of the safest entertainment areas in the West Midlands."
Mr Sartori said he found the police comments inexplicable in the light of a successful visit to Broad Street by Home Secretary John Reid in March.
Mr Reid toured the bars and clubs and praised the BID's efforts to make Broad Street a safer place.
He noted that the street was one of only a few entertainment zones in the country to record a drop in alcohol-related incidents.
The Home Secretary said: "There is a degree of peace here compared to what it was and that is down to local people, the local authority and the police.
"It offers people a better life, people have more entertainment, more opportunity and it means parents can bring their children out at night. When it comes to reducing crime, the proof is in the pudding in Broad Street and Birmingham."