Alcohol/ Entertainment Licence
Most of the owners and operators of licensed premises (bars, pubs, clubs, restaurants and off licences) that I have acted for have been subjected at one time or another to visits, planned or otherwise, from the Police and/or the Licensing Authority (as discussed in my previous blog post ‘Premises Licence Meetings with the Police’). These can be understandably stressful for those they fall upon, but careful preparation (for planned visits) and good premises management and practices (for unexpected visits) can limit the stress and difficulties the visits cause.
How to Prepare for Licensed Premises Inspection
Below are a list of practical steps an operator may wish to consider or implement in order to ensure that visits to your premises run as smoothly as possible.
- Make sure that you and your staff are knowledgeable about the hours, activities and conditions specified on the Premises Licence – this can be incorporated as part of staff induction training;
- Keep your Premises Licence Summary (or a certified copy) on display and that the Licence itself (again, or a certified copy, including a layout plan) is kept on the premises. These are typically the first things that a licensing officer will look for on arrival for a visit;
- Have incident books, refusal registers, door staff signing-in sheets, staff training documentation and any other documentary evidence available that you have been complying with the conditions on the Premises Licence. Visiting officers like to see firm and contemporaneous evidence that conditions are being complied with;
- Ensure that your CCTV system – if you operate one – is in good working order and is recording (and retaining) images for the periods specified by the Premises Licence. Have someone on site who is able to operate the system and can demonstrate this to officers if they enquire about it;
- Keep copies of any other authorisations (TENs, Pavement Licences, Gaming Permits etc) on site for inspection; and…
- Most importantly – be enthusiastic, engaging and helpful with officers when they arrive. A warm welcome goes a long way!
Are you receiving repeat or worrying visits from the authorities at your licensed premises? Contact our Licensing Department who can advise and assist you with matters moving forward on all areas on licensing law in the UK on 0113 297 1875.
Read Ed’s legal column in City Dweller Magazine (page 22).
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