M&B wins licence conditions case

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Premises licence Crime Theft Metropolitan police

Chip and pin: dispute about privacy shields
Chip and pin: dispute about privacy shields
Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) has won a ground-breaking appeal against a premises licence condition that would have forced it to fit ‘privacy shields’ to hand-held PDQ machines at the Goat in Clapham, London.

The Metropolitan Police had applied for a review of the premises licence and asked for the conditions because of their concerns about ‘shoulder surfing’ in the area. They alleged that thieves were reading customers PIN numbers over their shoulder before stealing the cards and using them to illegally buy goods.

The conditions requested by the police were imposed by the licensing sub-committee. However, the operators of the premises, M&B were successful in having these removed on appeal at South Western Magistrates’ Court earlier this month.

District Judge Grant said there was a very small number of potential thefts arising out of shoulder surfing and the company had taken positive actions when the police concerns came to their attention. He also expressed concern that the fixing of shields to the machines had not been formally approved by the manufacturers of the terminals and he ruled that the conditions were therefore unnecessary and disproportionate.

Phil Crier, partner and head of the licensing team at law firm Blake Lapthorn, who represented M&B, said: “This was a common sense judgment, which reinforces the fact that conditions on licences should only be imposed where they are justified both on grounds of necessity and proportionality and have relevance to the licensing objectives.”

“In respect of the imposition of conditions on the premises licence for the Goat in Clapham, we did not believe these were justified and are satisfied that our appeal has been upheld.”

The PMA’s legal editor Peter Coulson argued this was a ground-breaking case and said: “The police were trying to impose general crime prevention conditions that are not relevant to the holding of the licence.”

Related topics Licensing law

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