Published on November 6th, 2012 | by Dean Carr
Challenge 25: The best age verification policy
“Challenge policy”, “age verification policy”, “asking for I.D.”, “think 25”- it is branded in different ways but the policy remains the same. Retailers of alcohol must demand identification from customers and then inspect the item given to verify its validity and the customer’s age. At Alcohollicence.org, we recommend a Challenge 25 policy.
The importance of age verification:
Amendments to the Licensing Act 2003 made in April 2012 have added to the importance of age verification for retailers. The maximum fine for persistently selling alcohol to under-18s has doubled from £10,000 to £20,000. The maximum length of the period of voluntary closure (as an alternative to a fine) has increased from 48 hours to 336 hours (14 days). Voluntary closure is only the tip of the iceberg. If alcohol is frequently sold to under 18s from a licensed premises, the premises licence will come under review and will likely be revoked.
There is a long standing awkwardness about confronting a person about their age, let alone deciding if a customer looks 17 or 21. The advantage of a challenge 25 policy is that the margins are dramatically widened for the retailer. Under challenge 25, any young or youthful looking adult should be challenged for I.D. as a matter of policy. A policy of this kind goes a long way towards eliminating the sense that the retailer is singling a person out for scrutiny. If argument is given, remember that a personal licence holder and their staff have the right refuse to serve anybody without providing a reason (only refusing service on discriminatory grounds is prohibited).
Visit the PLT website to download free challenge 25 posters.
Checking I.D. validity:
Retailers must remember to check the validity of identification given. First, the date of birth must be scrutinized to ensure that the person is over 18. Remember, a genuine I.D. card – such as a provisional driving licence – may be legally possessed by a person under the age of 18. Secondly, the card must be checked for validity, signified by the PASS logo or relevant raised holograms.
The Citizencard identification cards (pictured) display the PASS logo and are available for different age ranges.