People purchasing alcohol in pubs and clubs in the Isle of Man will be asked to produce a valid form of identification if they appear to be under 25 years.
The ‘Challenge 25’ initiative, which is already in place for local off-licences, has been extended to on-licensed premises (effective from Friday 9 May).
The aim is to combat under-age drinking and also to protect licensees and designated officials from committing an offence.
The Challenge 25 code of practice has the support of the Isle of Man Licensing Forum and is being promoted as best practice across the industry.
The initiative has been successful in reducing instances of alcohol being sold at off-licences to people under the age of 18.
Although there are no major concerns about under-age drinking on licensed premises, it is hoped the code will prove to be an added deterrent.
The introduction of Challenge 25 also reinforces the licensing industry’s reputation for being proactive in promoting its own measures to ensure compliance with the law.
Juan Watterson MHK, Minister for Home Affairs, said:
‘Determining the age of young people is difficult and there is pressure on licence holders and their staff to get it right to avoid falling foul of the law. While the Challenge 25 code of practice is not mandatory it is being adopted as best practice. It is hoped that challenging those who appear younger than 25 to produce a recognised proof of age card will catch out under-18s who attempt to buy alcohol.’
To assist training and enforcement, the Licensing Forum is supplying forms to enable members of staff to sign a declaration that they have read and understood the code.
A current passport, driving licence or a Proof of Age card are acceptable forms of identification for the purposes of the scheme. Proof of Age cards can be purchased from the Welcome Centre in Douglas Sea Terminal at a cost £10 and are valid for 5 years. They are available to purchase between 9am and 5pm Monday to Saturday.