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How to deal with a bit too much Christmas spirit

By David Inzani, solicitor at Poppleston Allen

- Last updated on GMT

Festive season: Poppleston Allen has issued advice on how to deal with customers who have 'indulged in the odd glass or two more than they usually would'
Festive season: Poppleston Allen has issued advice on how to deal with customers who have 'indulged in the odd glass or two more than they usually would'

Related tags: Poppleston allen, Licensing, Christmas, Legislation

I know that you might have only just packed away your Halloween costumes, however this week the John Lewis advert hit our TV screens and that means only one thing – Christmas is coming.

This festive season is hopefully going to be a marked improvement on last year’s Christmas lockdown, yet it goes without saying that some people might indulge in the odd glass or two more than they usually would, which can present difficulties to staff.

With this in mind – and the lack of clear guidance in assessing whether people have had too much to drink – we thought it would be helpful to provide some basic advice on what you can put in place to avoid unwittingly serving a customer who maybe drunk.

Staff training

The crucial thing here, like so much in the licensed trade, is training. Your bar staff and door supervisors should be trained so that they:

  • Can spot the signs of someone who is drunk trying to enter your premises and/or be served – signs include slurred speech, glazed eyes or being unsteady on their feet;
  • Are aware that if a customer appears to be drunk then they should not be admitted to your premises and/ or should be refused service. In reality, and particularly when you are busy, it can be difficult to tell. So if your teams suspects someone is drunk, but are unsure, it is usually best to err on the side of caution and refuse entry and/or service;
  • Are aware of the need to monitor customers who have already been admitted to the premises and/or previously been served. It may well be that when they arrived they appeared fine, but then they have later become drunk. This can happen if they have consumed a large quantity of alcohol just before entering your premises, but this didn’t take effect until after they had been served;
  • Do not allow a customer to purchase drinks for someone else who is drunk  (as this is a separate offence) and if they suspect someone is doing this, they should refuse service;
  • Do not encourage customers to drink large quantities of alcohol – this could be by way of drinks promotions. Your staff should be aware of the Mandatory Conditions in relation to the availability of small measures for beer, certain spirits and wine.

Are aware of their wider duties. Someone who is drunk is a vulnerable person. Someone who appears to be drunk may in fact have a disability, and may or may not be vulnerable. Either way, your staff should be aware of their responsibilities and any procedures under your Vulnerable Persons or similar Policy should kick in

Related topics: Licensing Hub

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