On the career path: The thin blue line

By Paul Chase

- Last updated on GMT

On the career path: The thin blue line

Related tags Customer Customer service

The freedom to trade and to operate in a fair, flexible market place is key to the health and prosperity of the pub and bar sector.

In the night-time economy of town and city centres, that freedom to operate is threatened by the squeeze on public-sector spending — particularly on the police.

The cuts to police budgets mean that the thin blue line is getting thinner, and pub and bar operators and door supervisors are increasingly expected to step into the gaps.

The growth in the number of ‘voluntary’ breathalyser schemes and the conditioning of licences to insist on the use of ID scanning equipment are both symptoms of this problem. But the creation of late-night leisure ghettos where premises are expected to operate airport-style security is not the answer to reduced police numbers.

There has to be a balance between social control and customer service.

Here’s where training your staff can play a useful role in improving both control of your premises and customer service. What happens in the premises determines what spills out on to the street, which then needs policing by a diminishing number of warranted officers. Instead of gimmicks like alco-blow machines we need to develop a proper understanding of how to operate premises in which people who may have pre-loaded with alcohol, or taken other, illegal intoxicants now present as vulnerable customers.

That’s why CPL Training has developed a course in vulnerability awareness.

The course, which takes about three hours to deliver, will help managers and staff understand what vulnerability is, how to spot vulnerable customers, understand what your duty of care is to such customers and what you can do in practical terms to ensure they don’t become victims either on your premises or when they leave them.

This understanding will enable managers not just to help keep their customers safe, but to reduce the problems that spill out on to the street, and thus to keep your premises licence safe.

Paul Chase is director and head of UK compliance at CPL Training

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