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Intoxication Policy

Top Tips for devising an effective intoxication policy

Recent feedback from a number of clients indicates that the levels of enforcement action have increased.  The enforcement covers a variety of issues from noise complaints to crime and disorder but one common theme seems to be the authorities indicating to operators that their customers are too intoxicated, leading to issues both inside premises and when customers leave.

Responsible drinking (and selling) of alcohol is a common phrase but the lines are often difficult to draw. It is an offence to serve someone who is drunk, but with the current trend for pre-loading with cheap supermarket alcohol before a night out, it can be difficult to discern who may or may not have had one too many.

Here are our top tips for devising an effective intoxication policy:

  • Consider your customer demographic.  In order for any policy to be effective it must consider the customers who drink in your premises and their reasons for visiting.  Food led premises are likely to have fewer issues with intoxication than wet led venues and premises attracting a younger crowd so your policy will need to take account of those factors.
  • Ensure that any promotions you are running are responsible.  There is no point in taking the time to compile an intoxication policy if your promotions encourage customers to drink to excess.  Irresponsible drinks promotions are banned by the mandatory conditions and you could therefore be subject to prosecution and/or a review of your premises licence if you are found to be in breach of the mandatory conditions.
  • Everyone responds to alcohol in a different way so spotting an intoxicated customer can be difficult.  Your policy should identify typical signs of intoxication and what your staff should look for such as aggressive, loud or boisterous behaviour, lack of coordination, drowsiness and lack of judgment.  The longer the list, the more aware your staff will be of how alcohol can affect customers in different ways.  Also, explain what staff should do if they spot those signs, such as reporting this to a member of management or door staff to deal with the situation.
  • Staff training is key.  Once you have devised an effective intoxication policy, it is important that your staff, including any door staff, are trained on the policy.  Your staff will be responsible for implementing the policy on a day to day basis and need to be aware of what to do in the event that they notice the signs of intoxication, including their safeguarding responsibilities to vulnerable persons.

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