Success for campaign cracking down on 'preloading'

By Emily Sutherland contact

- Last updated on GMT

Pubs which serve drunk customers face losing their licences
Pubs which serve drunk customers face losing their licences

Related tags: Bar staff, Liverpool, Public house, Alcoholic beverage

A campaign designed to crack down on 'preloading' in Liverpool has proved a success according to Liverpool John Moores University's Centre for Public Health (CPH).

Research from CPH argued public awareness about legislation, which says it is illegal to serve someone who is already drunk, was limited, as was bar staff knowledge and police enforcement of the legislation.

A 2013 study in the city found 84% of attempts to buy alcohol in pubs, bars and nightclubs by actors pretending to be drunk were successful.

Pubs that serve drunk customers can be fined £1,000 and faced being stripped of their licences.

The initiative, called Drink Less, Enjoy More​, included enhanced training for bar staff, undercover police operations in pubs serving customers already clearly drunk and a public awareness campaign.

Following the campaign, just 26% of actors pretending to be drunk were served in the city's pubs and clubs and the proportion of people who said bar staff in the city centre didn't care if people got drunk on their premises fell from 63% to 51%.

However, the expected alcohol consumption during the course of a night out went up from 16 to 20 units and there was no significant difference pre and post intervention in the proportion of survey participants who said that drunk people would usually be served on a night out.

The number of those who revealed they had 'preloaded' before going out dropped from 65% to 58.9%.

Some licensees in the city were critical of the campaign. Speaking when it was launched in October last year, licensee Paul McGuinness, who runs the James Munro pub in the city centre, branded it a "woeful waste of resources" and added drunkenness could be hard to define.

"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 he said," he said. 

Related topics: Legislation

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