Police to video sting operations

Related tags North west License Public house

Pubs in the North West are to be targeted by a police sting which will see covert filming used to catch them serving drunks.Licensees in the city...

Pubs in the North West are to be targeted by a police sting which will see covert filming used to catch them serving drunks.

Licensees in the city could face not just fines but more stringent penalties including the loss of their licence, if they are caught.

A spokesperson for Blackpool Police confirmed the plans are under discussion and they have equipment to carry out undercover surveillance at any time. It is thought there are plans to extend the police operation across the North West, targeting pubs particularly in town centres.

Licensees have reacted with consternation to the plans. Zoe Pomies, licensee at New Road Inn in Blackpool, said police might record footage that doesn't tell the whole story. "People come in here from elsewhere, already very drunk. I won't serve them alcohol but will give them a coffee or a Coke. But if they're filmed in here acting up then how will I prove it?" she said.

Dave Daley, chairman of the National Association of Licensed House Managers and a licensee in the town, said: "There should be training to help staff. It's a problem, but how do you distinguish a drunk person from a normal person?

"You don't deal with that using covert operations, you need to be upfront and work as a partnership. The police, the licensees, managers and staff - all working together."

Ex-police officer Graham Rowson licensee at the Plungington Tavern in Preston, Lancashire, is concerned the initiative could spread further afield. He said: "We are given a licence because we are supposedly fit and proper people. Now they are trying to catch us out with all this covert stuff. Have the police got nothing better to do than pick on licensees?"

Lee Le Clercq, the British Beer & Pub Association's regional secretary for the North West, said the repercussions of being caught on camera could be huge. "The police are looking to come down hard on those caught. You don't need a secret video to give a fixed penalty, so they'll be looking to take it as far as they can."

Related topics Licensing law

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