Can I serve an Officer who is on duty?

  • Date: 22 August 2016
  • Author/Solicitor: Nick Arron
  • Source: Reproduced from the Publican's Morning Advertiser

Q:  I have a friend who is a police officer and he tells me I can’t serve him a beer whilst he is on duty, is this right?

A:  Good question. It was historically against the law to do so (as it was for the other soliciting profession!), but it is no longer an offence. Indeed, you can tell your friend the responsibility for ensuring that the purchase is appropriate falls on the officer, not the licensee.

The Home Office Guidance on 'Police Officer misconduct, unsatisfactory performance and attendance management procedures' states: 'Police officers do not purchase or consume alcohol when on duty, unless specifically authorised to do so or it becomes necessary for the proper discharge of a particular police duty.'

The officer would need to be clear that their actions were appropriate in the circumstances and that they had the necessary authorisation or duty requirement before making such a purchase. So it’s your friend who is now accountable to their line management and police internal discipline processes for their actions, rather than you as the pub landlord.