The Licensing Act 2003 places a statutory requirement on all those who undertake licensing functions, including pubs and clubs that sell alcohol, to promote four fundamental objectives: the prevention of crime and disorder; the promotion of public safety; the prevention of public nuisance; and the protection of children from harm.
Where licensed premises do not promote these objectives a number of enforcement agencies, including the police, and what the Act terms ‘Interested Parties’, or those who live or work in the vicinity of licensed premises, can take action. In the case of Interested Parties this action includes the power to bring a review of the premises licence.
NUS is of the view that licensed premises which take part in large-scale bar crawls are not promoting the licensing objectives. Universities and students’ unions, acting as Interested Parties, should therefore put the premises concerned on notice that they have concerns about the organisation of the event and the promotion of the licensing objectives by those premises taking part. Similarly, the police and local authority have a duty to promote the licensing objectives, and universities and students’ unions, again acting as Interested Parties, should ask the police and local authority what action they intend to take to ensure the licensing objectives are met during the event.
To help with this, we have drafted up two template letters to use under joint signature by your university Vice-Chancellor and yourselves. These letters have been checked by a Licensing Lawyer and an experienced Enforcement Officer. They should be sent as early as possible, and at least two weeks before any large-scale bar crawls that take place in your local area:
The first template can be found here and should be completed and sent to your Police Licensing Officer and your Local Authority Principal Licensing Officer (you should be able to find these details on the internet, otherwise get in touch with your local council).
The second template letter can be found here and should be sent to each licensed premises that will be taking part in the event.
These letters can also be sent by individual students (under their own signature) who live in the vicinity of those licensed premises taking part in the event, as well as by local councillors and MPs.
We recommend that ‘proof of posting’ certificates are obtained when posting the letters. Alternatively the letters can be emailed or faxed.
By ensuring that licensed premises taking part in the event are promoting the licensing objectives, and that the local police and local authority are ensuring that the objectives are promoted, we will either prevent the events from happening or ensure they are well organised and responsibly run.