A campaign has been launched by the Island’s Licensing Forum to raise awareness of the powers held by a licensee and their staff to refuse to serve a customer without providing a reason.
The move is in response to a number of court cases over recent months in which people working in licensed premises have been both verbally and physically abused.
Licensing Forum chairman Julian Lalor-Smith said:
‘This campaign is designed to protect licensees and their staff from abuse, and to help unruly customers understand exactly what the consequences will be if the police need to be called.
‘The Forum understands that situations can be aggravated by a lack of awareness regarding a licensee’s powers. The number of such incidents have been increasing, and in some cases staff injured, resulting in police attendance.’
Posters will be displayed in licensed premises around the Island and distributed on social media channels in a bid to make people aware of a licensee’s powers and reduce the number of anti-social incidents.
The posters feature black and yellow writing and emphasise the message that licensee-holders have the power to ask anyone to leave their premises, without giving a reason.
Similar posters highlight the overall aim of the campaign, which is to keep people safe, focussing on how that staff have the right to refuse service and can ask anyone to leave the premises.
Home Affairs Minister Bill Malarkey MHK said:
‘I urge everyone to take notice of this campaign, which is designed to protect licensees and their staff, and importantly ensure the public can enjoy a safe environment in licensed premises’.
Chief Constable Gary Roberts said:
‘The Licensing Forum is a responsible body which aims to ensure pubs and bars are places people can enjoy themselves safely, and this awareness-raising campaign has the full support of the Isle of Man Constabulary.’
In summary, Section 35 of the Licensing Act (1995) provides a licensee the right: to refuse to serve customers without giving any reason; to refuse to admit any member of the public to licensed premises; and refuse to supply liquor to any person, if he considers it inadvisable to do so. If anyone fails or refuses to leave licensed premises on being ordered to do so by the licensee, any employee or a police officer, then they are guilty of an offence and may face a fine of £500. A recent prosecution and sentence was welcomed by the Licensing Forum in relation to an assault on a licensee where a prison sentence and exclusion from the Island was included.