Does legislation to prevent alcohol sales to drunk individuals work?
Today’s report ‘Does legislation to prevent alcohol sales to drunk individuals work?’ demonstrates that despite legislation, drunk people can still get served in bars (with 84% of attempts successful in the study).
However, what we need to remember is that while legislation is there, it is extremely difficult to implement. Here in the North East, as in the rest of the country, there are very few prosecutions and the reason for this is that the law is difficult to apply. Our police forces are already stretched as a result of alcohol misuse in our town centres. To patrol and monitor matters like this is labour intensive – they simply don’t have the time or the resource.
In terms of responsibility, it also shouldn’t sit wholly with the people who are pulling the pints. The industry needs to play some part in this. Owners and managers of these establishments have a responsibility to make sure their staff can identify people who are drunk, and to ensure they stop selling them alcohol. It’s also time that we tackled the upselling of alcohol - encouraging people, whether already inebriated or not, to drink more. Door staff are also in a prime position to stop drunk customers from entering. However, I can appreciate this can be a difficult job for everyone involved.
And whilst we do need to increase the use, or ease of use, of legislation preventing the sale of alcohol to drunk individuals, the priority surely should be tackling the problem, not just controlling it.
The real problem here is the low price and the wide-scale availability of alcohol, which we need Government to address. Increasingly the people going into our town centres on a night out have already been pre-loading at home to varying degrees - some arriving in the bars and clubs already inebriated. It’s then left to the city centres, be it the businesses, the police or A&E departments, to clean up the mess.