The Service Director Culture, Housing and Regulation will submit a report providing an overview of the work of Licensing Enforcement Officers undertaken recently in relation to the Licensing Act 2003.
The Service Director Culture, Housing and Regulation submitted a report providing an overview of the work of Licensing Enforcement Officers undertaken recently in relation to the Licensing Act 2003.
Particular reference was made to the following:
An application for a transfer of the premises licence had been received in respect of which an objection had been submitted by the South Yorkshire Police. This matter was to be considered by a Statutory Licensing Regulatory Board Sub Committee at a meeting to be held on the 21st November, 2017 and a further update would be provided at the next meeting.
(b) ARGUS Training
34 town centre businesses had all successfully completed the ARGUS anti-terrorism training. The sessions had been held in the Town Hall and delivered by Counter Terrorism Advisers. The aim of the session had been to raise awareness of the threat of terrorism and provide practical advice on preventing, handling and recovering from an attack.
(c) Reduce the Strength Initiative
This initiative was aimed at forming a voluntary agreement with town centre off licences to reduce the availability of high strength cans of beer, lager and cider. Several visits had been made to various premises and officers had spoken to owners and managers to encourage participation in the initiative.
On the 11th October, 2017 a can marking operation had been undertaken so that manufacturing codes would compared to cans being sold in four main town centre off licences. A further operation had been undertaken on the 13th November and the process of identifying the main sources of sale would again be applied. From this, Officers would speak to licensees and continue to work with them to prevent the sale of high strength beer, lager and cider with a view to reducing litter and anti-social behaviour in the town centre. Any premises failing to work with officers would result in consideration being given to whether or not premises licences should be reviewed.
It was pleasing to note that one premise had already voluntarily agreed to have his premises licence conditioned to state that no alcohol over 6.5% proof would be sold in single cans or bottles.
(d) Best Bar Non Accreditation Scheme
This scheme, with National Awards, was supported by the Home Office and the drinks industry and aimed at promoting responsible management and operation of alcohol licenced premises. It was to be launched in Barnsley on the 14th November, 2017 at the Legends Bar and officers had been trained to become qualified assessors.
The scheme had been piloted in Manchester in 2003 and had been found to improve standards in the evening and night time economy and had been adopted by 75 towns and cities across the UK and was also to be taken up internationally.
The report, in outlining in detail the purpose of the scheme, also gave details of the benefits this would bring particularly to the night time economy and the prevention of alcohol related crime and anti-social behaviour
(e) Immigration checks in Licensed Premises
On the 12thOctober, Licensing Officers, accompanied by Immigration Enforcement Officers, had inspected three premises within the Town Centre to ensure compliance under the Licensing Act 2003. All premises had been found to be compliant; however, one individual had been arrested by Immigration Officers.
It was reported that proactive enforcement action would continue to take place on a regular basis. In addition, further enforcement action was being planned with various agencies including the Police and the Immigration Service as by doing so, and by encouraging all individuals licenced under the Licensing Act 2003 to accept responsibility for failures, that the safety of the public could be maintained.
In the ensuing discussion, the following matters were raised:-
· In relation to ARGUS training
o Training had been provided free of charge but was limited to a maximum of 50 persons. For this reason, it had been limited to Town Centre Premises
o The safety of the public was paramount and such training was very much welcomed
o Details of the various elements of the training session were outlined
· In relation to the Reduce the Strength Initiative
o It was noted that Public Health had been involved in this initiative
o Whilst this was a voluntary initiative, many off licences had participated
o A report in the Barnsley Chronicle recently had referred to one premise within the borough which was selling high strength lager (approx. 67%). The Licensing Enforcement Officer indicated that investigations had been undertaken and that procedures were in place to limit the sale to one drink per customer. It was unlikely, however, that such drinks would be aimed at ‘street’ drinkers
o In response to questioning, information was provided on the way in which test purchasing was undertaken to ensure that there were no underage sales
o This Initiative was primarily aimed at the sales of cider/lager/beer and not small bottles of spirit
o Evidence indicated that the sale of high strength cider/ lager/beer was not coming from supermarkets
· In relation to Best Bar None
o The scheme would conclude in June with an award ceremony for the winners. Officers from the Authority had been trained and were now qualified assessors
o It was noted that this scheme had been undertaken previously in Barnsley and had been a success. It was hoped that the re-launch would prove to be even more successful
o At the launch event tonight, a national speaker would outline the benefits to be achieved as a result of the scheme and would share best practice from other areas
· In relation to Immigration checks
o Whilst all premises were complaint from a Licensing Act point of view, one individual had been found to be working illegally in a take away business and had been arrested
o Whilst only the Town Centre had been targeted for the operation, no individual premises had been previously identified as having any particular problems
o It was noted that the employment of persons not entitled to work within the UK could impact on the Crime and Disorder Licensing Objective and could, therefore, result in the review of a licence
(i) that the Board place on record their thanks and appreciation to the staff within the Licensing Service for all their hard work in undertaking enforcement activities and ensuring the continued safety of the public and for the outstanding results currently achieved; and
(ii) that update reports on enforcement activity be submitted to the Regulatory Board on a regular basis.