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Whose Premise Licence is it? Make Sure the Actions of your Door Staff do not put your Licence in Jeopardy

I have attended a Police meeting this week with a long standing trouble free operator.

The Police were uncomfortable with some instances which have come to light of the way in which people had been ejected from or refused entry to the licensed premises. The techniques for removal/ejection were called into question and we were shown some video footage from the Council’s CCTV system.

The Police thought that there was a need for some refresher training for the door staff and also a reintegration of management and door staff to work together. It reminded me of instances that I have dealt with previously where staff working behind the bar had been comfortable to sell alcohol to people without I.D checking believing this had already taken place at the door by the door supervisors.

The management controls in the premises will determine whether there will subsequently be a review of the Premises Licence. The Premises Licence attaches to the premises and is in the owner/operator’s control. If door supervisors are seen to be behaving in a way which compromises any of the four licensing objectives there could be a review of the Premises Licence. Clearly if the Premises Licence is put into potential jeopardy as a result of this action then there could be serious ramifications for the owner/operator.

It is therefore very important that the owner/operator does not allow a door team to be the tail that wags the dog. Good quality door companies will provide a senior door man who understands potential issues that could be created at the premises as well as the continuity of door staff. One of the issues that arose in our Police interview was that the premises was located on the corner of two roads and some of the ejections could lead to people being thrown on to the carriageway of the road and therefore causing potential issues to their safety.

These live issues should be risk assessed for every venue and door teams should be constantly looking at what management controls are needed. Drug use in toilets is another significant risk to licensed premises and door supervisors (and/or toilet supervisors) have to be vigilant that a significant number of people carrying drugs with them are looking for a “soft” place to be able to take them. I was once involved in a pub premises licence review which had difficulties with their toilets. When the Premises Licence was reviewed the issue surrounded the gentlemen’s toilets and in particularly one cubicle. The DPS told us they had tried to put sloping surface blocks on the window ledge which had been removed and admitted they had given up at that point and not looked for any other ways to deal with the issues…not a good response.

One enlightened operator who we acted for asked all of their senior management to do the SIA door training course and all of their door supervisors to do the NCPLH course. We then had a training day where the management and the door supervisors integrated with role play in live scenarios so that both understood the issues that the other had to deal with at the premises.

This has brought back into sharp focus my view that I have always had that training is imperative and that any external agencies employed at licensed premises – for example door supervisors – do not put the long term life of the business in jeopardy by bringing the Premises Licence in for review.