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Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001

Section 32: Drunkenness or disorder on licensed premises

93.Subsection (1) increases the maximum penalty for the offences under section 172 of the Licensing Act 1964 (“the 1964 Act”) to a fine at level 3 (£1,000), to make this consistent with new section 172A. The previous penalty was a level 2 fine (£500).

94.Subsection (2) inserts a new section 172A into the 1964 Act which makes it an offence for anyone (described and defined as a “relevant person”) who works in licensed premises to permit drunkenness or any violent, quarrelsome or riotous conduct to take place on the premises. If a relevant person is charged with permitting drunkenness, the onus is on the defendant to prove that he or she took all reasonable steps to prevent the drunkenness. It is also an offence for the relevant person to sell intoxicating liquor to a drunken person. “Relevant person” is defined as any person, other than the licence holder, who works in a capacity (whether paid or unpaid) which gives him or her the authority to prevent the relevant drunkenness or disorder, or the sale of the alcohol.

95.Currently, under section 172(1) and (3) of the 1964 Act, only the licensee can commit these offences, and he is liable for the actions of employees or other agents acting on his behalf. Permitting drunkenness does not necessarily involve a sale of alcohol to a person who is drunk. The current offence includes the act of allowing any drunken person to remain on licensed premises. The new section ensures that any manager or agent supervising licensed premises on behalf of a licensee, for example the licensee’s spouse, cannot evade responsibility for the prevention of drunkenness and disorder, or the sale of alcohol to a drunkard, during the licensee’s absence for any reason.

96.Subsections (3)-(6) amend section 174 of the 1964 Act by providing that not only the licensee but also a “relevant person” has the right to refuse to admit or to expel from the licensed premises any person who is drunken, violent, quarrelsome or disorderly. The use of this power will enable the “relevant person” to take action to prevent the commission of the offences under the new section 172A.

97.Subsection (7) provides that the amendment made to the penalty for the offences under section 172 of the 1964 Act should not apply to offences committed before the coming into force of this amendment.

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