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Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006

Part 1: Alcohol-related violence and disorder

3.Chapter 1 of Part 1 establishes powers to allow those aged 16 and over who are responsible for alcohol related disorder to be excluded from pubs and clubs in a defined geographic area for a given length of time under a drinking banning order, with the possibility of other relevant prohibitions also being included in the order. Provision is also made for the duration of an order to be reduced if an individual satisfactorily completes an approved course to address their alcohol misuse behaviour.

4.Chapter 2 of Part 1 gives local authorities the power to designate, with the consent of the police, a locality as an alcohol disorder zone where there is a problem with alcohol-related nuisance and disorder. Local authorities will have the power to impose charges on holders of premises licences allowing the sale by retail of alcohol and on holders of club premises certificates allowing the supply of alcohol to members and their guests. Charges can be imposed if licensed premises and clubs did not implement an action plan designed to address the problem. They will have a period of eight weeks in which to do this. As part of the action plan, licensed premises may be asked to fund extra service provision – extra late-night transport for example. If premises failed to implement the action plan, then charges would be levied at a nationally-set rate, reflecting the cost of a typical basket of initiatives which could be used by local authorities and other public authorities to tackle the problem. A designation will be subject to three monthly review of its appropriateness.

5.Chapter 3 of Part 1 inserts a new procedure into the Licensing Act 2003 which allows for an accelerated review of licensed premises by a licensing authority, and the attaching of temporary conditions to a premises licence pending the full review of the licence. The new procedure provides for a senior police officer (of or above the rank of superintendent) to certify to a licensing authority, that he/she considers a licensed premises to be associated with serious crime and/or disorder. On receiving the application the licensing authority will be obliged to consider within 48 hours whether it is necessary to take interim steps pending a full review of the licence which must take place within 28 days.

6.The interim steps that a licensing authority may take include modification of the conditions of a licence (e.g. requiring at risk pubs/clubs to search for offensive weapons or use toughened glass); the exclusion of sale of alcohol; the removal of the designated premises supervisor from the licence; or the suspension of the licence.

7.If the licensing authority decides to take interim steps, pending a full review, then it will be required to give notice of its decision to the holder of the premises licence and the police. The premises licence holder may make representations against the imposition of temporary measures and the licensing authority will be obliged to hold a hearing within 48 hours of receipt to consider these. In addition to considering the representations, the licensing authority must consider the original statement issued by the police and any representations made by the chief officer of police for the area. Following the hearing, the licensing authority may decide to withdraw or modify the temporary steps taken.

8.The licensing authority is obliged to hold a full hearing within 28 days of receiving the signed statement from the police taking into account representations from the licence holder, any responsible authority or interested party. Following the review, the licensing authority may modify the conditions of licence, exclude a licensable activity from the scope of the licence, remove the designated premises supervisor from the licence, suspend the licence for a period not exceeding 3 months or revoke the licence.

9.Chapter 3 of Part 1 also inserts a new offence into the Licensing Act 2003 which will be committed if, on three or more different occasions in a period of three consecutive months, alcohol is unlawfully sold on the same premises to a person aged under 18. The new offence is only committed if at the time of each sale, the premises were licensed by a premises licence issued under the Licensing Act 2003 or the premises were being used for a permitted temporary activity under the authority of a temporary event notice given under that Act. The new offence is committed by a person who, on the occasion of each unlawful sale, was a person, or one of the persons, holding the premises licence for the premises, or a person, or one of the persons, who is the premises user and gave the temporary event notice authorising licensable activities at the premises. The penalty for the new offence on summary conviction will be a fine not exceeding £10,000 and, where the offender is a premises licence holder, the premises licence could be suspended for up to three months insofar as it authorises the sale of alcohol.

10.Provision is made in Chapter 3 for a senior police officer, of the rank of superintendent or higher, or an inspector of weights and measures, to give a closure notice where there is evidence that a person has committed the new offence of persistently selling alcohol to children at the premises in question, and he considers that the evidence is such that there would be a realistic prospect of conviction if the offender was prosecuted for it. A closure notice will propose a prohibition on sales of alcohol at the premises in question for a period not exceeding 48 hours; and will offer the opportunity to discharge all criminal liability in respect of the alleged offence by the acceptance of the prohibition proposed in the notice. The premises licence holder will have fourteen days to decide whether or not to accept the proposed prohibition or to elect to be tried for the offence. Where the licence holder decides to accept the prohibition, it must take effect not less than fourteen days after the date on which the notice was served at a time specified in the closure notice. Closure notices may be served by police constables, trading standards officers and community support officers.

11.Chapter 3 also amends the Licensing Act 2003 so that where a premises licence issued under that Act requires persons to be present to undertake manned guarding activities, the premises licence must only contain a mandatory condition that they be licensed by the Security Industry Authority if they are required to be licensed under the Private Security Industry Act 2001. Chapter 3 also amends the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 to limit the circumstances in which premises licensed by local authorities cannot be designated public places (where restrictions on public drinking will apply).

12.Chapter 3 also creates a new power for a police constable to issue an individual with a direction to leave a locality for up to 48 hours. A direction may be issued if an individual in the locality is likely, in all the circumstances, to cause or contribute to the occurrence, repetition or continuance of alcohol-related crime or disorder in that locality and the direction is necessary to remove or reduce that likelihood.

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