WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT IT?
Working as a licensee is a fun and rewarding job, but with it comes great responsibility. As a licensee you, and others you permit to sell alcohol on your behalf, have the responsibility for the prevention of crime and disorder.
All premises which have a licence to sell alcohol can only operate with a Designated Premises Supervisor, otherwise known as a DPS. Typically the landlord, the DPS is a personal licence holder and takes on the full responsibility for activities taking place on licensed premises.
By turning a blind eye to crime and disorder, such as illegal drug taking or fighting, you are at great risk of losing your licence; being fined or even serving a prison sentence. The consequences will affect you directly – even if you are not present or in any way responsible for the event that has occurred.
WHAT CAN I DO TO AVOID LOSING MY LICENCE?
From experience we find that being highly visible as management and employing highly trained staff committed to high service standards helps improve conduct within an establishment. This in turn helps prevent crime and disorder.
It is also worth considering:
Installing a CCTV system as a deterrent and to provide evidence in case of incidents.
Providing signage making the terms of your Premises Licence clear e.g. display notices asking customers to be quiet when leaving the premises or not to take drinks outside the premises.
Training your staff ensuring that they understand what the 4 Licensing objectives are.
Never serving alcohol to a drunk customer – or one who appears drunk.
Be vigilant about illegal drug taking.
Working with neighbouring premises to collectively stamp out anti-social behaviour. You may be required by the Police to join the local Pub Watch Scheme.
Be consistent in your approach and always follow through. Issue a warning, and if behaviour continues carry out your threat.
IS THERE ANY HELP FOR ME?
Licensees are expected to be proactive in the fight against drugs. You will find that the police realise this is a difficult issue and are happy to support you. In the unfortunate circumstance of a major incident, we recommend the premises should immediately cease the sale of alcohol and the Police called.
The Police are now making it a condition on Premises Licences that there is a staff training scheme in place. Consider training all your staff as Personal Licence holders. This qualification not only allows you to share the burden of responsibility, but you can also be confident that your team is clear about the regulations and responsibilities that come with the enjoyable task of tending a bar in a welcoming social setting. Training with O’Brien Licensing & Training Services starts from as little as £145 per person. Being backed up with a clear and consistent in-house policy gives you peace of mind that you are operating within the Licensing Act 2003.
O’Brien would certainly recommend that at least your duty managers each obtain a Personal Licence.
In addition, we can provide in-house training for the rest of the staff on the important aspects of the licensing laws, including the 4 licensing objectives. This training costs £275 and will usually be completed within 2 hours and can be held in your own premises, to make it as cost and time effective as possible.
February 2017: An example of a Premises Licence review has recently been published in Scarborough where the Premises Licence Holder (PLH), the Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS) and management of a local establishment have, over the last 12 months, been in communication with North Yorkshire Police and Scarborough Borough Council. Issues discussed were:
Alleged drug use – Violent Crime – ASB & nuisance in the outside area of the premises – Breaches of the Premises Licence conditions.
The licensing objectives of The Prevention of Crime & Disorder, Public Safety and The Prevention of Public Nuisance have been undermined, and a Premises Licence review has been ordered.
As part of the improvement process, the PLH and DPS will be attending an O’Brien Personal Licence course as a refresher because it appears that after 10 years some of the objectives have been forgotten. Also, two members of staff will attend with a view to obtaining their Personal Licences to help share the responsibility.
PLEASE don’t get in to difficulty – be prepared and have trained staff on duty – at all times!
Contact O’Brien Licensing & Training Services on firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.