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Typically, during the month of December, pubs sell almost 300 million pints of beer, with many indulging in the odd glass or two more than they usually would.

To help you navigate this joyous but busy time of the year, we have set out our tops tips for you to consider so that you can have a safe and successful period of trading over the festive season.

Staff training

Your staff should be trained on the effects of alcohol and how to spot early signs of customers becoming drunk – which include slurred speech, glazed eyes or being unsteady on their feet. Any drinks promotions should be socially responsible and not encourage excessive drinking. Your staff should be aware of the Mandatory Conditions in relation to the availability of small measures for beer, certain spirits, and wine. We would also recommend that you remind staff of the Ask for Angela scheme, a national scheme to help anyone feeling vulnerable on a night out.

Door supervisors

Proper management of the entry to and from the premises will depend on the size and type of the venue. It may be worth employing door supervisors, even if it is not a condition on your premises licence. Your door supervisors should not be admitting customers to your premises who appear already  drunk. If you do have an admissions policy including any age restrictions, expected dress standards or the screening of personal belongings of customers upon entry, these should be widely publicised on any promotional material or website and clearly displayed at the entrance to the premises. Also, be sure that any door supervisors you are employing are licensed.


With the unexpected rise in spiking cases over the last few years, there are some effective steps which can be taken so that your customers and staff feel safe and protected. Use posters to encourage people to stay with friends and keep an eye on their drinks. Consider providing customers with covers to protect against offenders putting something in their drink. Review your search policy. High standards of service and cleanliness are powerful deterrents, as this shows you care about your venue and look after it and all who use it.


We would advise you to be a part of your local pubwatch, where such a scheme exists, at all times of the year, but especially over the festive season. Pubwatch schemes can be a crucial forum for dialogue between the responsible authorities and operators, so that knowledge and awareness can be shared.


Check that the system is recording, that all the cameras are working, and the date & time stamp is correct. CCTV will act as a deterrent. Signs need to be displayed letting customers know they are in an area covered by CCTV. The sign should be visible and legible to members of the public and contain details of who operates the system, the purpose for using the CCTV and who to contact about it. CCTV will also assist in evidence gathering should an incident occur at your premises.

Premises Licence

We recommend that you review your premises licence to check that all of the details are correct, that the DPS is listed as the correct person and all of the conditions are being complied with. The responsible authorities are likely to carry out spot checks over the festive season, so it is essential that you are fully compliant. For example, that the required notices are being displayed, or that no new entry of customers is taking place after the time conditioned on the licence. Ensure you go through the terms of the premises licence with your staff and any door supervisors so that everybody is aware of what is required to be compliant.

You should also review your premises licence to check whether you are licensed for extended trading hours over the festive period. If you don’t have any non-standard timings for extended trading over the Christmas and New Year period, then you will need to lodge Temporary Event Notices.

Please note that this information is for general guidance only and should not substitute professional legal advice. If you have specific concerns, we recommend consulting one of our legal experts.


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