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Supervisor faced threat of a £500 fine by police

Should we carry Personal Licences with us at all times?

Q: I run a busy town centre pub and whilst I was away on holiday recently we were paid a visit by the local police licensing officer. The supervisor who I had left in charge of the pub was asked to produce his personal licence. On that occasion he was unable to produce it and was threatened with a £500 fine for failure to do so. Is this correct?

A: Whilst it may on the face of it sound a little draconian, the answer is yes. Under section 135 of the Licensing Act, when on premises in order to make or authorise the supply of alcohol, and where the supply is authorised by a premises licence, the holder of a personal licence must produce it to any police constable or authorised officer upon request. Section 135 does not make it clear whether or not there is a requirement for the personal licence holder to produce both parts of their personal licence. Remember, the licence is in two parts – a paper part and a card part (The paper part contains a record of any relevant offences of which the holder has been convicted). I would be surprised if the police wanted to see more than the card.

Any failure to produce the licence, without a reasonable excuse, is an offence and the holder of the personal licence is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding £500. Unfortunately, leaving a licence at home (which your supervisor may have done) would not be a reasonable excuse. However, I hope that the police in this instance will take a pragmatic approach and simply require your supervisor to produce his or her licence on another occasion. As a matter of good practice for the future, I would suggest that all your staff who are personal licence holders carry their personal licence cards with them when they are at work.

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