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Fights at Premises

The police are threatening to prosecute - what can I do?

Q: I run a Town Centre bar and have recently had a couple of fights break out at the premises on weekend evenings. The Police have been called and the officers who have attended have always been reassuring in terms of the way that we have handled the situation. The Police Licensing Officer has now been in touch and has questioned the levels of intoxication of some of the patrons within the premises. He seems to think that that may have contributed to the fights which broke out. He is threatening to prosecute me. Is this possible?

A: It is an offence under the Licensing Act to sell alcohol to someone who is drunk therefore a prosecution would only seem possible in the event that there is actual evidence of a sale taking place to someone who your bar man or manager who observed the sale should have judged to be too drunk to serve. The difficulty with these situations is that it is such an objective assessment as to whether someone is actually drunk or not and indeed the law is not entirely clear on where the line should be drawn. The more real risk here would seem to be one of a review of the premises licence therefore you should take on board any suggestions which the Police make in an effort to avoid further action.

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