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alcohol licensing consultation

On 12 Aug 2010 at 10:24pm jrsussex wrote:
The Home Office have invited me to attend a consultation on the coalition proposal to introduce additional powers for local authorities and the police to deal with badly operated pubs and anti-social behaviour. It will include other aspects of what may be wrong in relation to the Licensing Act 2003. How far should they go? I know that the vast majority of pubs are operated well and the danger is that measures will be introduced that will have a detrimental effect on the operation of all pubs including the majority of those which are well run.
Do any posters have any suggestions on what they believe needs to be changed to stop the anti-social behaviour or to improve the Licensing Act. I have ideas but some of you, as customers, may have some very good suggestions that I can take with me.
On 13 Aug 2010 at 8:47am 'ere be monsters wrote:
Dead simple, stop serving people after they've become incapable. That would have saved me a few embarrassing incidents I tell you!!
On 13 Aug 2010 at 8:59am jrsussex wrote:
'EBM - It is simple but is rarely adhered to. One problem is that many people can be "drunk" without it showing as opposed to those, mainly the younger end of the market, where it shows pretty quick. In the mainpeople who get drunk remain friendly, the problems are created by those who want to get violent, and many of those that do so are very aware that when they have alcohol they are prone to get violence but still drink heavily, that the law needs to address. Not however, in my opinion, in a way that any new legislation has a negative impact on the millions of those that drink without causing problems.
Another problem that has arisen in recent years is that of pre-loading, drinking low coast alcohol prior to venturing out for the evening. I don't profess to know how to deal with that but it does cause problems once those people get into the pubs.
One point it is, and always has been even under the old 1964 Act, illegal to serve a person who is clearly intoxicated.
On 13 Aug 2010 at 10:01am Old Cynic wrote:
The organised, student, cheap booze get as much down your neck, binges do worry me. Companies making money out of kids getting paralitic and damaging themselves seems morally wrong
On 13 Aug 2010 at 10:27am 'ere be monsters wrote:
That's what I mean jr, adhere to what we have. I don't see putting a minimum charge per unit, as they are proposing, making any difference apart from supermarkets making more money out of it. Our problems stem from years and years of being told how to drink with the draconian laws we had. It won't change overnight, it'll take a generation for people to change their perspective on getting bladdered for the sake of it, me being one. It really is only the small minority that are the problem, whatever the solution it needs to be aimed at them. Right I'm off down the pub be back Monday!!!!
On 13 Aug 2010 at 11:30am Mike wrote:
As a publican I have a clear interest in any proposed changes to the law. The principle problem as far as I can tell is with cheap alcohol being purchased in supermarkets. People have got into the habit of buying large amounts of drink cheaply and then sitting at home in an unsupervised environment and drinking too much. The cheap alcohol has also led to the problem of preloading where people drink cheap booze before going out to the pub club etc. It is often difficult for staff in the pubs to tell that someone is already well oiled when they walk into the pub. We need to get back to the idea that drinking is aprt of a social activity rather than a end in its own right. Tackling cheap booze in the off trade is a key to this. In terms of licensing law, we probably do not need more regulation but what we need is for the existing laws to be enforced properly. If someone is drunk and disorderly then arrest them and fine them rather than just sending them on their way.
On 13 Aug 2010 at 11:55am jrsussex wrote:
'EBM - You are spot on, have you ever worked in the trade? A minimum charge per unit will make no difference whatsoever, but try telling the Government, police and licensing authorities that. Your comment on it taking a generation is also, in my opinion, correct. The so called "Café Society" that the previous Government tried to create simply will not happen in the UK, why I don't know but we consume alcohol in a different way to our Europeans friends. They mostly do it socially whereas we, certainly the younger element, do it to get drunk.
Mike, you are correct in that the drinks industry definately does not require additional legislation, we are weighed down with it now. Existing legislation simply needs to be properly enforced with the offenders being punished, not society as a whole. Unfortunately whenever Sussex Police are questioned on their apparent failure to act professionably against anti-social behaviour they always plead that they are acting within Home Office guidelines. The stupidity of those guidelines is made apparent when a police officer, having been told of a person trading in class 1 drugs on the licensed premises, takes the offender outside and issues a warning. Happened twice in Hastings, so what chance do licensees have in the face of that type of guideline. If the police were to catch a drug trade on the premises they could go for a review of the Premises Licence or even revocation of the licence.
On 13 Aug 2010 at 3:34pm sashimi wrote:
Yes, but the pub trade have learnt that the drunker you get the less price conscious you become and you are reckless with your money. So, happy hour with silly prices gets you tanked up and ready to roll when the prices go back to normal and you start drinking stupid things like Green Chartreuse until your wallet is empty. If anyone complains, you point to all the signs saying drink sensibly and come out with the line further up the thread about not being able to tell some people are bladdered because you can't always spot it. It makes great business sense but happy hours are encouraging the problem.
On 13 Aug 2010 at 3:45pm 'ere be monsters wrote:
Never been a publican jr, always prefered the public side! Cheers, now I Am going down the pub.
On 13 Aug 2010 at 5:02pm jrsussex wrote:
Sashima - You are wrong, good licensees do not want drunken people on their premsies, it keeps the nicer customers away because the word soon get round the locality that you operate bad premises. To think that a decent publican thinks "if I can get my customers drunk they'll not know what their spending," is total nonsense. It simply isn't like that. My point about not being able to distinquish some people who could be classified as drunk is factual. Some people hold their alcohol better than others. Please don't tell me you disagree with that.
On 13 Aug 2010 at 7:22pm king cnut wrote:
I've worked in pubs for many years and the one thing that really annoys me is foul language. I'm no prude but loud swearing just ruins a pub. I know its little boys trying to be clever or drink talking and can't be legislated but gggrrrrrr!!!!!
On 13 Aug 2010 at 8:38pm Peter B Ex Friars WalkR wrote:
What the hell do you go to a pub for if not to get intoxicated? Places that open 24 hours a day serving alcohol do not expect you to have afternoon tea! Get a grip folk. And if I do not want to hear swearing I shall go to the church instead!!
On 13 Aug 2010 at 9:17pm jrsussex wrote:
Sounds very much as if you are exactly the type that most licensees would prefer not to have on their premises. Less than 1% of licensed premises are open 24 hrs a day.
Anyway please bear my initial post on this thred in mind. I am looking for suggestions as to what, in your opinions, would improve the current situation with regard to drink related problems, anti-social behaviour etc.
Try to avoid suggesting the introduction of yet more red tape.
On 13 Aug 2010 at 10:15pm Pater B Ex Friars WalkR wrote:
I would suggest allowing teenagers to be allowed to drink in moderstion at home so as they are used to it like the French, then they will not run amok like wild beasts when they are allowed out to drink at 18 or 21 whatever it is. By the way, I can assure you I have been welcomed in many public houses and recently was assured by the landlord without my contribution and loyalty he would have gone bust. Thank you. Good luck, think your doing a good job all in all.
On 14 Aug 2010 at 12:10am jrsussex wrote:
The offence is not in consuming alcohol, it is for a minor (under 18) to purchase alcohol, or for a person over the age of 18 to purchase alcohol for consumption by a minor. There is nothing in English law to stop a minor of any age consuming alcohol in. for example their home, but they must not do it on licensed premises.
On 14 Aug 2010 at 11:46am Southover Girl wrote:
My recommendation is: get rid of large ? anonymous, soulless drinking establishments. Encourage small, friendly family run pubs - bring back owner landlords, get rid of large companies such as Pubs n Bars Plc., who operate tenanted pubs on 3 year leases. PnBs place mainly young pub managers in situ who do not care about the cliental and run the pub with short term goals with no time to establish a rapport with regular punters or newcomers. So in short: Small pubs, a long-term tenant or owner publican, older people keeping an eye on young folk. The publican is then respected as they are a member of the local community.
On 15 Aug 2010 at 9:27am Licencee wrote:
I feel quite strongly that we need to try to change the way we drink in the UK This has developed through the old licencing laws & is now prepetuated by cheap supermarket booze. We need to encourage people especially youngsters to drink on licenced premises where they are properly supervised & where they can learn appropriate behaviour 'under the influence' amongst their peers & where they can enjoy a comfortable social environment. Stop them preloading drinking at home or 'on the street'.
So REDUCE the taxes on booze for licenced premises & increase it for off sales. It would then be cheaper to buy a drink in a Pub or Restaurant than it would to drink at home! Perhaps even larger reductions for smaller owner operated businesses especially if they are country based. It would help businesses like mine survive stop Pubs closing at an alarming rate & save two great British institutions, the PUB & MICROBREWERIES . It would keep people employed in the hospitality industry & hopefully create a sociable happy self policing society that look forward to 'going out' to meet & make friends as we used to!!! Cheers
On 15 Aug 2010 at 11:44am jrsussex wrote:
Firstly thank you to those who responded to my request. In particular 'ere be monsters, kingcnut, paterb ex friars walkr, southover girl (great if your suggestions could happen) and the 2 licencees mike and licencee. I can now set about preparing my input to the consultation.
Some points I'll be mentioning that you may like to be aware of. The authorities cannot set price levels for alcohol (minimum pricing), it would be against competition law, the OFT have already told Government that. The matter to be sorted out is below costs sales, there lies the root of the problem.
Home Office police guidelines that allow the police to give a caution to a drug trader when caught trading on licensed premises must be revised, if the police caught that person without the licensee reportijng it they would almost certainly go for a review of the licence or even revocation.
Under age drinkers almost always currently are issued with a warning, bearing mind some licensees have had their licence revoked for under age sales the authorities must start to prosecute the offenders.
The matter of pubs paying for late night policing. It appears to be a blanket proposal, what happens to the licensee that operates well run premises? Why should he incur additional business costs for policing for which neither he nor his premises are responsible? What they should do is introduce heavier deterrant fines for drunkenness and anti-social behaviour.
One other point, give the power of alcohol control back to the magistrates. The giving of it to local authorities and police has proved to be a monumental cock-up and not fit for purpose. We have never had the level of problems in the drinks industry as those since the introduction of the Licensing Act 2003 in 2005 linked to the change of control.
Just a couple of points but thanks for your comments.
On 16 Aug 2010 at 2:21pm Hoodie Hugger wrote:
Having lived in Europe where alcohol is a big part of cultural social life, but they don't have a binge drinking problem, I would suggest encouraging longer opening hours to stop this idea of having to neck two pints at 10.45 (as we used to do when i was a teenager in Lewes) and reducing the business rates on landlord owned pubs (to encourage local ownership).
On another note: the bartenders of Madrid some centuries ago noted that people got less drunk when they were consuming food along with their drink, and so put little 'lids' of food on top of the glasses - bread, meat and cheese mainly. And so tapas were born. If I were a landlord, I might look at doing a deal with a local farmer for a similar sort of arrangement. I bet it would pull in the crowds, too.
On 16 Aug 2010 at 4:22pm jrsussex wrote:
Hoodie Hugger - We already have the longer hours, where have you been for the last 5 years? Regards the food thing you are quite right, it does slow down the rate at which you are likely to get drunk. Most pubs do now offer food but you cannot force customers to eat. The business rates idea is great but it won't happen, every other business would call for the same deal. Pubs with a low ratable value can apply for some relief under the curreent system, which applies to all business premises.

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