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Leading the way on promoting responsible retailing

On 20/04/15 by Daisy Blench (Policy Manager - Responsibility)

We frequently see stories in the news decrying the scandal of ‘Binge Britain’ and criticising the pub trade for encouraging excessive alcohol consumption fuelling anti-social behaviour on our streets.

However, pubs are about far more than selling drinks. Pubs are constantly adapting to cater to the increased demand for eating out and appealing to the family market. They are also increasingly aware of their social and community responsibility.

Ask anyone in the trade and they will tell you that having rowdy drunks in their pubs is just as much of a problem for them as for the local community - and that it is in everyone’s interests to see this addressed and promote greater individual and retailer responsibility.

The industry has invested a great deal in initiatives aimed at tackling alcohol misuse and irresponsible consumption. The industry-led Challenge 21 campaign in particular was hugely successful in tackling the issue of underage selling and showed than industry can be highly successful in delivering consumer facing campaigns to raise awareness on key issues.

And the trends are encouraging – binge drinking, underage drinking and alcohol related crime and anti-social behaviour are all down and continue to fall.

However, no-one should be complacent and we are always keen to look ways that companies and pubs can best support efforts to continue to raise standards and promote best practice within the licensed trade.

In response to a focus from a number of the Government’s selected ‘Local Alcohol Action Areas’, on tackling public drunkenness and alcohol related anti-social behaviour, BBPA has worked with National Pubwatch and Drinkaware to create a new poster campaign to help raise awareness of the offences under the Licensing Act 2003 to sell to, or obtain alcohol for, a person who is drunk on licensed premises.

In practical terms this includes:

• Selling an alcoholic drink to someone who you know is drunk

• Buying an alcoholic drink for someone who you know is drunk

As those in the trade know, working in a pub or behind the bar can be tough; a busy environment with lots of people there to enjoy themselves and have a good time and a thousand things to remember quite apart from ensuring that you always abide by the many laws that govern the pub trade.

Staff in licensed premises can be put in a very difficult position if pressurised to serve drunk customers. However, as well as the incentive to maintain a safe and sociable premises for all, the penalties for serving someone who is drunk can be significant. These include a fine for the individual of up to £1,000 and the risk of losing a premises licence if the premises is taken to review based on this issue.

The new campaign aims to support staff in upholding these laws and give them an additional tool to clearly remind customers of the law in a relatively light-hearted format. They are available to download for free on the BBPA website here and licensees are encouraged to make use of them where they can, either behind the bar, in the toilets or wherever most appropriate! The materials can also be used as part of staff training programmes.

Whilst posters are never going to be the whole answer to educating and informing people of the law they can hopefully be a useful contribution to the ongoing work by the trade to make sure that everyone stays within the law and continues to have a great time in the pub.


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