London 2012 Olympics: Plan for Olympic enforcement at your pub

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Mandatory conditions, Olympic games, Summer olympic games

Poppleston Allen: "Licensees should be prepared for the huge influx of sports fans of different nationalities coming to England"
Poppleston Allen: "Licensees should be prepared for the huge influx of sports fans of different nationalities coming to England"
The greatest show on earth is here in London and you will be aware of the restrictions protecting the use, for example, of certain Olympic-related words, Olympic logos and even dedicated VIP Olympic traffic lanes.

I’ve had a couple of queries on enforcement during the Olympics, which leads to this timely advice to operators planning to maximise their business potential during this period.

If enforcement officers are not providing security at Olympic Games venues or avoiding the hustle and bustle of Olympic life, they may be preparing their next licence enforcement operation.

Licensees should now be prepared for the massive influx of sports fans of different nationalities coming to England and positively adding to the economy. However, it would be unfortunate if an operator had to pay a substantial fine for breach of their licence conditions or sale of alcohol to someone under the age of 18.

So consider this scenario. How do you or your staff explain to a group of 18-year-old Uruguayans that you operate a Challenge 25 policy and need to see some ID? When they produce their document it is not a passport or driving licence as stipulated in your licence condition. They get stressed and promptly light a cigarette in the bar!

The legal drinking age in most countries is 18 — but not all. You might thus be refusing alcohol to a 16-year-old Georgian who likes a (legal) pint back home, while at the same time serving a group of 20-year-old American students who have never been to a bar on their own.

Clearly you must have procedures in place to address these sorts of issues that many licensees will face during the Olympics. Doorstaff may help, but you may consider using posters showing diagrams, photographs and numbers; pay attention to things like eye contact, gestures, posture, body movements, and tone of voice to get your message across.

Operators must also ensure that their premises comply with the premises licence conditions, occupancy levels and obviously be even more vigilant over the effect of increased customer business on residents living in the area.

Finally, I’ve also been asked about the impact of the mandatory conditions during the Olympics. You will recall that, in April 2010, new mandatory conditions were automatically added to all premises licences and club premises certificates, some of which ban irresponsible drinks promotions and the giving away of free drinks. Irrespective of the emotion, passion and spirit of the Olympics, care must still be taken when supplying alcohol during what will be a busy period.

The Home Office guidance reminds us that cheap drinks for fans of specific sporting teams are prohibited by the mandatory conditions. The guidance gives examples of what type of promotions are banned, one of which is a “high limit” on the number of drinks included in a nominal entrance fee, for example, £5 entry and 12 shots free.

The legislation also states that the provision of unlimited or unspecified quantities of alcohol free or for a fixed or discounted fee to the public or a group defined by particular characteristics is prohibited. So, cheap drinks for the fans of a specific sporting team would fall foul of the legislation.

Notwithstanding this, all of the above is qualified by the fact that any of these promotions are only prohibited where there is a ‘significant risk’ that they would lead or contribute to adversely affecting the licensing objectives.

So, with careful preparation, we can all enjoy the spirit of the Olympics while minimising the possibility of prosecution.

Related topics: Licensing law

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