Union anger as undercover cops target pubs

By Matt Eley Matt

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Licensees, Undercover

A trade union has criticised police for bringing back undercover officers trying to catch licensees serving drunks. The Home Office initially...

A trade union has criticised police for bringing back undercover officers trying to catch licensees serving drunks.

The Home Office initially launched a campaign to spot drunks in pubs and bars at Christmas two years ago but after the £250,000 campaign resulted in just three warnings and one licence review it was branded "a waste of time" by licensees.

However, police in Lancashire have told members of local Pubwatch groups that they will be carrying out a similar exercise in Blackpool and other areas this year.

Dave Daly, manager of the Castle pub in Blackpool and national committee member of the Licensee Unite branch of union Unite, attacked the move.

He said: "We believe the use of undercover police in pubs is an affront both to licensees and the public who should surely be able to socialise without looking over their shoulder, particularly when there is no clear definition as what may be defined as 'drunk'.

"We are not prepared for our members' licenses to be compromised by moves like this and although Licensees Unite will provide full support and legal guidance to any licensee who has difficulty as a result, we urge the police to rethink this policy."

And Jennie Formby, Unite National Officer, said the move would compromise any goodwill between police and licensees.

"There are a number of reasons why this is wrong, if you are going to have police in the pub why not have them in uniform.

"We want to be working more closely with police but looking at issues like this is not the right way."

She added: "It is really not acceptable for our members to be policed by fear in their own workplace."

The Publican​ contacted Lancashire Police but they have yet to comment.

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