Police call time on alcohol shots
Portsmouth is certainly not alone in introducing these types of ‘voluntary’ restrictions in order to curb alcohol related violence.
Effectively banning the sale of shots and asking premises to invest in personal head or shoulder mounted cameras for Door Supervisors is a methodology, I think, we should all start getting used to.
The proposed government reforms will make this sort of action much easier and make the potential punishments for non-compliance more significant.
That individual premises conduct a thorough risk assessment in relation to their activities is nothing new and should be encouraged. We would like to see more responsibility falling to individual alcohol retailers, rather then blanket bans / conditions being imposed.
It is perfectly possible to sell shots without significant consequence if alcohol retailers take sensible responsible measures in their day-to-day activities. Those premises which don’t control the quantity they sell to individuals should face sanction available under the current Licensing Act.
One question I ask is what would be classified as a shot?
Tequila is after all traditional drunk as a shot and has been since inception, is tequila effectively being banned?
What about whiskey? A significant of whiskey is drunk without mixer, many claim that adding a mixer to Whiskey is sinful… Is this a shot, or because most people sip it would it be viewed differently? Is it really possible for licence holders to make sure people sip their whiskey and don’t drink it as a shot?
Other countries where legislators have banned the sale of shots have defined them as ‘single measures without addition’. In parts of Australia where this is the case, people wishing to drink shots buy them as singles with ice fish out and discard the ice and drink the remaining ‘shot’… does the discarded ice on the floor constitute a ‘Public Safety’ issue and undermine the licensing objective… I am as you can imagine playing devil’s advocate here…
I imagine the reason why this is being encouraged rather than enforced is just for these reasons, it is currently unenforceable; hence why the threat of the police coming down on them ‘like a ton of bricks’ is the threat used to enforce the unenforceable.
There are other potential problems. If such a policy is to be expanded will it not just encourage pre-loading; buying cheap supermarket alcohol and drinking heavily in and uncontrolled environment prior to going out to the pubs and clubs.
If there can be an assumption that pre-loading will increase, then this policy goes against the concept that minimum pricing will have a positive effect on the levels people consume alcohol in.
It is generally accepted that when people drink at home the size of drink they pour will be at least twice the standard size they will buy in a pub or club.
If people drink shots to get drunk (there is the cultural problem), will they not just do this at home before they come out? If they would usually have 2 or 3 shots once out, will they not effectively be having the equivalent of 4 – 6 shots at home before they go out.
This squeezes the income of licensed premises and yet potentially increases their costs in additional security costs in order to deal with the consequences of pre-loading.
As I said, I am playing devil’s advocate here, local problems require local solutions. My point is that solutions which ‘squeeze the balloon’ (squeeze one area and another expands) are not a comprehensive solution.
I understand the individual frustrations, especially those of the police and local authorities, but I also see the problems these solutions cause licensed retailers, the constraint it puts on their business and the strains it puts on them. The less income they are able to make the more corners they have to cut; it can be a real catch 22.
We always emphasise on our courses that licensing is a partnership approach, not an ‘us against them’ situation. The partnership is between all the authorities and the licensed retailers, they have to work together to find the solutions which promote the licensing objectives, protect the public interest and protect and encourage responsible alcohol retailers.
If the authorities want the licensed retailers to become partners in responsible retailing they also have to realise that there has to be give and take. Prohibition never worked in the past and I doubt it will work in the future. Retailers need the opportunity to make a reasonable income and in return need to demonstrate they can act responsibly and deserve the privilege of holding a licence to sell alcohol.
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Source – www.portsmouth.co.uk
Date – 10th August 2010
Submitted by – Peter Mayhew
At Beyond The Blue we deliver a number of different courses and services, which include;
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