Legal advice

Q&A: Police action against employees and charity events

By Poppleston Allen

- Last updated on GMT

Q&A: Police action against employees and charity events

Related tags: Binge drinking, Drinking culture

This week's legal Q&A focuses on what to do when the police want to ban an employee from a venue, and what to do when charity winner drinks a bottle in a un-licensed village hall

Police want employee banned from six venues

Q. An incident involving a member of my staff took place at my premises. Our CCTV seems to verify my employee’s account that she acted in self-defence. The matter is currently being investigated by the police, but the police licensing officer has demanded that she is banned from my premises and from a further five venues I have. Can they do this?

A. This does seem quite a heavy-handed approach by the police, especially since enquiries are continuing and your member of staff has not been charged with any offences. The old adage of “innocent until proven guilty” does spring to mind. The police may have additional information, which causes them concern about your member of staff, however, you will require further details before you can justify banning her from one or all of your premises. Obviously, the police authority could make things difficult, but I would expect them to be reasonable and proportionate in their actions.

It may be worth discussing this with the officer in more detail. Furthermore, you may also wish to mention how your actions would affect your staff employment rights, and
that she could have a claim against you. In any event, if the police persist in their request, then you should seek immediate
legal advice.

Charity winner drank bottle at village hall

Q. I arranged a charity event at our local village hall. On the day, we sold raffle tickets with all proceeds to be donated. One of the participants won a jeroboam of Champagne, which he promptly opened and shared with his friends on his table. I did feel a little apprehensive. A few days later, the council contacted me and stated that I did not have a premises licence or temporary event notice under the Licensing Act 2003, and they would like to interview me. What should I do?

A. Under the Licensing Act 2003, the sale of alcohol is a licensable activity and specifically, sec 175 of the act allows the giving of alcohol in sealed containers, as a raffle prize. However, the consumption of alcohol is not licensable. If you are satisfied that the cost of the raffle ticket did not incorporate the cost of the alcohol, or there was genuinely not a sale of alcohol, then it does not appear that you needed a licence for the Champagne being consumed. However, you may wish to consider whether there were any other activities at your event which were licensable,
eg, films, recorded music, etc.

In any event, we always suggest that you take legal advice before you attend any interview with the licensing authority.

Related topics: Licensing law

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