Police bid to defy CPS advice over licence-holders

Related tags Personal licence holder License

Police are to continue cracking down on licensees who fail to ensure a personal licence holder is on site at all times.South Yorkshire Police wants...

Police are to continue cracking down on licensees who fail to ensure a personal licence holder is on site at all times.

South Yorkshire Police wants to prosecute a Barnsley licensee for going on holiday and leaving a person in charge who did not hold a licence - despite advice from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) that "no offence had taken place".

The issue has now been taken up with the upper echelons of the CPS by the force, which is to continue with its policy until there is a test case to clarify the position.

The policy is against guidance from the Department for Culture Media & Sport (DCMS) and LACORS, the local authority co-ordinating body.

PC Adrian Waites, from the licensing division at Barnsley, said it was appealing against the CPS advice over the case of Tracy Elrington, who was forced to return from a holiday in Spain after her pub, the Mount in Barnsley, was the subject of a closure order.

"Until there is a stated case at court we will continue to do this. But if we go into a premises and there is no personal licence holder but they are contactable, there is no problem. We are implementing the law as we see fit."

North of England regional secretary Lee Le Clercq said that he was "surprised and disappointed" that the police still seemed intent on pursuing the case, despite the advice from the CPS.

"Closure orders, as defined in the Licensing Act are available to the police where there is disorder, or an imminent risk of disorder, breaking out.

"While we may all be struggling for clarity around the interpretation of how long a personal licence-holder may be absent from the premises, such absence certainly does not immediately indicate a threat of disorder or wrongdoing."

Licensee Glenn Fraser of the Cross Keys in Barnsley said he thought the police were just trying to make a point.

"I don't think a personal licence-holder needs to be on site at all times. I think staff are experienced enough to run the pub in the licensees' absence. It was alright before."

Tony Payne, chief executive of the Federation of Licensed Victuallers' Associations, said: "If the staff are trained I can't see why they should have any problems. As long as the staff have been authorised to sell alcohol in the presence or absence of the PLH there should not be a problem. What grounds are Barnsley closing pubs on?"

Related topics Licensing law

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