The Policing and Crime Bill includes a number of proposals to make the Licensing system more effective in preventing crime and disorder. These proposals also enable Licensing Authorities and the Courts to act swiftly when those operating Licensed Premises are involved in crime or disorder and also to prevent abuse of the Licensing system. Its proposals include a new Licensing Authority power to revoke or suspend Personal Licences. It also proposes to revise the list of relevant offences for Personal Licences and also to remove the legal ambiguity on the procedure for summary reviews following a serious crime or serious disorder at Licensed Premises. There is also to be a new definition of alcohol to include powdered and vaporised alcohol.
Many welcome the extension of a Council’s power to suspend or revoke a Personal Licence, which will enable them to take prompt action to ensure that people convicted are unable to authorise the sale of alcohol.
The Local Government Association is also supportive of the proposal, which will enable a Licensing Authority to suspend a Premises Licence where a business has consistently failed to pay the business rates due to the Licensing Authority.
There are also proposals to enable Councils to consider the cumulative impact of licensed premises when they are granting further Licences, and it has also been proposed that public health should become a statutory objective for Licensing Authorities.
In light of all of the issues that have been in the news regarding child protection, an amendment has been proposed in the Bill to compel Licensing Authorities to act to combat child sexual exploitation.
The Bill is currently at the report stage, having last been considered in the House of Commons on 26th and 27th April.
For further information, please contact Andrew Cochrane.