Licensing officer calls for ‘trial and error’ police to have better training

By Ellie Bothwell

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Constable Institute of licensing

Licensing officer Amanda Graham said police only receive 'bread and butter training'
Licensing officer Amanda Graham said police only receive 'bread and butter training'
A police licensing officer has called for the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) to introduce a national framework for training in licensing, after claiming officers are forced to resolve issues based on “trial and error — and mainly error” due to lack of support.

Speaking to the Publican’s Morning Advertiser​, Suffolk Constabulary licensing officer Amanda Graham said police only receive “bread and butter training” when they join a force and licensing officers are “just told to read the Licensing Act”.

“It all depends what training priorities there are for that year. But usually it’s crime, so licensing takes a back seat,” Graham said.

“There is no formal training for licensing as far as I’m aware. We spend millions on policing the night-time economy but some officers sent out have
no knowledge of the Licensing Act.”

She said part of the problem was “stretched resources” and the high turnover of officers who often move to different roles within a force without further training. “It means what we do is based on trial and error — and mainly error. To call us experts in licensing would be a loose term,” she added.

“I would welcome ACPO introducing training on a formal level. It would give us more confidence in dealing with specific legislation, which changes a lot.”

Current training

However, national policing lead for alcohol harm and licensing, Chief Constable Adrian Lee, said he is "confident that the current arrangements support [officers] in their development and work".

He said: “We have considered a formal training police-led course for police licensing officers with the College of Policing.

"Police forces currently provide training for their officers frequently from external organisations, such as the Institute of Licensing, but many also provide their own training in force.  To supplement these arrangements we hold a one day conference for police licensing officers to enhance their understanding of licensing practice, which is delivered by a combination of experienced practitioners and licensing barristers. 

“While a national police licensing course is not being actively developed, I am constantly impressed by the high levels of knowledge, enthusiasm and commitment demonstrated by licensing officers across the country.”

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