Published on October 28th, 2011 | by Dean Carr
Challenge 25 or Challenge 21 What is the best policy for retailers of alcohol?
Recent changes in Scottish licensing law have seen a blanket challenge 25 policy adopted throughout Scotland. So what should UK retailers of alcohol be doing? This article may help you decide whats best for your business!
Deciding which is the best challenge policy for your business can be a difficult choice, however we advise that for high street retailers such as an off licence businesses or a mini market, challenge 25 is the best policy and one that is adopted by most of the big supermarket chains. Pubs and bars tend to stick with challenge 21 but not all in some areas many bars and pubs are now choosing to operate a challenge 25 policy.
So lets try and explain the difference! with challenge 21 you only have a 3 years between the age of 18 and 21, but with the challenge 25 policy the gap is 7 years, therefore staff are less likely to make a mistake when asking for proof of age. An unauthorised sale of alcohol to a trading standards test purchaser will lead to an on the spot fine for the person involved and an interview under caution at the local police station or trading standards office which may also then lead to a criminal prosecution in Magistrates Court.
The maximum fine under the licensing Act 2003 for selling alcohol to an underage person is currently £5,000
Another concideration for retailers to be aware of is Section 147A of the licensing Act 2003 “persistently selling alcohol to children”
Section 147A makes it an offence to sell alcohol to a child under 18 from the same premises on two or more occasions within a period of three consecutive months. The section applies to the person being responsible in relation to the premises at the time of each sale.
It should be noted that there is an alternative to criminal prosecution for the offence of persistently selling alcohol to children. Under section 169 A of the Licensing Act 2003, a closure notice may be given where there is evidence that an offence under section 147A is committed, there is considered to be a realistic prospect of conviction and the offender is still a holder of a premises licence in relation to the relevant premises. A closure notice shall propose a prohibition on sales of alcohol on the relevant premises not to exceed 48 hours. The form of a closure notice is prescribed in The Licensing Act 2003 (Persistent Selling of Alcohol to Children) (Prescribed Form of Closure Notice) Regulations 2007, which came into force on 3 May 2007.
A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level £10,000.
You can download a free “Challenge 25 Poster” by clicking here