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During the month of December, pubs typically sell almost 300 million pints of beer. This inevitably means some people will consume more alcohol than they usually would.

Therefore, we have set out our tops tips for safe and successful 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 – signs 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. Remind your staff of the ‘Ask for Angela’ scheme.

Door supervisors

Proper management of the entrances and exits of 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 to be 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.

Spiking

With the unexpected rise in spiking cases over the last few months, 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 and review your search policy. In addition, 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.

Pubwatch

We would advise you to be a part of your local Pubwatch if you are in an area where such a scheme exists. This is recommended at all times of the year, but especially over the festive season, as this can be a crucial forum for dialogue between the responsible authorities and operators so that knowledge and awareness can be shared. Watch out for certain local initiatives over the Christmas period. You can check to see where your closest scheme is here.

CCTV

CCTV will act as a deterrent, however, it is important to check that the system is recording, all of the cameras are working, and the date and time stamp is correct. 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

Review your licence to check that all of the details are correct, the designated premises supervisor 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, the required notices are being displayed and 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 if you wish to be able to open later than usual.

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