Undercover drink sting plan slammed

By James Wilmore

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Lancashire Police Rob hayward

A trade chief has hit out at government plans for a national undercover sting operation targeting pubs that serve drunks. Rob Hayward, chief...

A trade chief has hit out at government plans for a national undercover sting operation targeting pubs that serve drunks. Rob Hayward, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, has raised a number of concerns with Home Office officials regarding the proposals.

Plain clothes police officers will visit pubs to check whether staff are serving drunk customers, as part of the campaign, which will run from late November to mid December.

But Hayward has criticised the timing of the campaign. "It's unwise," he said. "Most people will be out in groups and are more likely to generate violence if they are refused a drink." It would seem like staff are being "killjoys", he added.

In addition, Hayward said officers sent out to pubs would feel obliged to take action if they have been out all day. "They will feel forced to penalise somebody," he said.

As a solution, Hayward said: "They should target places that are known to have a problem at a time that is not Christmas."

Meanwhile in Blackpool and Fylde, Lancashire, a similar crackdown was launched last month.

During Lancashire Police's four-week Operation Abstain two bar staff were issued on-the-spot fines for serving to drunks.

Licensees were sent letters by the police prior to the operation warning them it was taking place.

Sgt Billy Giffin of Lancashire Constabulary said the idea of the campaign was to highlight to staff that they need to be aware of customers' behaviour.

However he admitted it was difficult sometimes to tell if someone was drunk. "We have to be sensible and the evidence to prosecute has to be very strong," he added.

Related topics Legislation

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