From 06 April 2017, Local Licensing Authorities will have the power to be able to suspend or forfeit a Personal Licence if a holder is convicted of one of a list of relevant offences e.g. drink driving, theft, GBH.
There were 650,000 Personal Licences in circulation last year of which only two were forfeited and six were suspended. Previously the power was reserved to the criminal Courts who were supposed to deal with the future of the Personal Licence at the time of sentencing. The problem was that many criminal Courts did not seem to be aware of the fact that they had the power to forfeit or suspend a Personal Licence or that they should tell the Licensing Authority about a Licence Holder’s conviction. In additional many Personal Licence Holders forgot that they are supposed to tell the Courts that they had a Personal Licence at the time of their first appearance in Court.
The result has been that very occasionally when seeking to appoint a new DPS the Police will highlight the fact that the applicant has been convicted of a relevant offence where the issue of a Personal Licence does not appear to have been considered by the Courts.
Usually other than the fact that the Police then object to the appointment of the new DPS, the matter is left there and no further action ensues for example for the failure by the Personal Licence Holder to disclose the matter to the Court when they should have done which in itself is a criminal offence. What can now be anticipated is that in these circumstances the Police are likely to make a report to the issuing Licensing Authority who in turn will trigger a process for review of the Personal Licence which could lead to its forfeiture or suspension.
It is always worth checking with a proposed DPS whether they are likely to have any relevant offences which may come to light during the appointment process.
Should you have any further queries please contact our Alcohol & Entertainment Licensing team on 01332 226 142.