Speaking at the National Pubwatch Conference in Sheffield last week, Connor warned licensees that they must be “very careful” about how and where images are kept or risk falling foul of the act. Those that breach data protection laws could be prosecuted and fined.
“Don’t display images of banned people on notices boards front or back of house — it’s tempting to do this to allow your staff to see barred individuals but don’t,” he said.
“Don’t leave them round the bar, certainly don’t put them in areas where the general public can see them and don’t place them on social media. If you have somebody coming into your office, like a supplier or a gas engineer, and they spot somebody they know on the images, then that’s a breach of the Data Protection Act.”
'Keep securely in a safe'
Pictures of banned people should be kept securely in a safe in areas only accessible to staff, Connor added.
His concerns were shared by licensing sergeant Martin O’Connell from Northamptonshire Police, who urged licensees to make sure best practice around data protection filtered down to all staff.
“We had an incident recently in one of the more rural schemes where everybody in that small town knew each other. A new member of staff came in to the pub, saw a PubWatch poster in the back room, took a photograph of someone she knew on that poster and then shared it on social media. We need to make sure staff know about this.”
However, one concerned licensee argued that if images had to be kept in a safe rather than on display staff would struggle to remember them.
National Pubwatch chairman Steve Baker said that while there was no problem allowing staff to view photos, they must “fully understand the implications of misusing this type of data”.
Elsewhere at the National Pubwatch Conference, Chief Constable David Crompton said he was in 'no doubt' the collective work of watches across the country had helped saved lives in the night-time economy.
Is it sensible to keep pictures of banned customers in a safe or would you rather staff can see them on noticeboards? Email your views to Emily.Sutherland@wrbm.com