The initiative will see police target pubs that serve customers who are clearly drunk in a series of undercover operations, as well as awareness posters put up around the city encouraging people aged 18-30 to cut back on how much they drink before going out. Pubs that serve drunks can be fined £1,000 and face being stripped of their licences.
Paul McGuiness, licensee at the James Monro in the city centre, was critical of the campaign. “The police are stretched to the limit already and if people want to have a couple of glasses of wine before coming out, I really don’t see the harm,” he told the PMA.
“Drunk can be hard to define. If people come in in ‘high spirits’ looking for a good time I have no problem serving them. If they’ve had a bottle of vodka and are obviously worse for wear then I wouldn’t serve them — but that’s something my bar staff do already, without this new campaign.
“With the best will in the world, once people have had one drink they’re not going to stop because of a campaign from the council. It’s a woeful waste of resources that could be spent on something worthwhile.”
Councillor Emily Spurrell argued that drunkenness is putting pressure on the city’s emergency services.
“Drinking excessively places a huge strain on public services such as the police, ambulance staff and hospitals. Almost three quarters of 18 to 30-year-olds who need an ambulance to take them to hospital are taken between midnight and 5am. Most instances are at the weekend, with many incidents preventable if people hadn’t drunk too much.
“We don’t want to stop people enjoying themselves and we are not telling them not to drink. What we are saying is that by having less and not overdoing it you will have a better and safer night.”
Liverpool council also faced criticism from trade bodies last week for launching a consultation on the introduction of a late-night levy.