Published on December 13th, 2012 | by Dean Carr
Late Night Levy and Early Morning Restriction Orders
A licensing authority can introduce an Early Morning Restriction Order (EMRO) to prohibit late night/early morning sales of alcohol. An EMRO can be applied to all or part of a licensing authority’s area for any specified period between 12:00 midnight and 6:00am. This is a relatively new provision. Licensing authorities hold this power under the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011.
The Early Morning Restriction Order (EMRO) legislation has been introduced by the Government as a high profile measure to tackle alcohol related crime and disorder on the high street. Street drinking, encouraged or made easier by late night supply of alcohol, has been identified as a principle cause of disorder. As such, off-sales are more likely to be included under an EMRO. The flexibility of an EMRO allows a licensing authority to target a problem store or problem area.
What is a Late Night Levy?
Under the same act (Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011), a licensing authority may apply a Late Night Levy to licensed premises in its area. The Late Night Levy measure is very new to the high street, having come into force on 31 October 2012.
A Late Night Levy is essentially a blanket alternative to an EMRO. A Licensing Authority may charge a fee, or Levy, to licensed premises that sell alcohol late at night (midnight to 6am). In theory, the Levy is intended to fund the cost of policing alcohol related crime and disorder in the early morning.
It is left to individual licensing authorities to decide whether or not to introduce a Late Night Levy. Once introduced, a Levy must be applied to the entire area. The Levy will be payable by the holders of any premise licence or club premises certificate holders, which authorise the sale or supply of alcohol on any days during the period beginning at or after midnight and ending at or before 6am. The Levy will not apply to Temporary Event Notices.
Are these the right measures?
It remains to be seen whether EMROs and Late Night Levies will be widely introduced or held back as an extreme measure for problem towns and cities. Pragmatic measures frequently stipulated on premises licences already lay the onus on retailers to discourage street drinking: bans on selling single cans, extra strong lagers and small bottles of spirits, premises-specific labelling to identify the source of litter and additional staff training.
Is street drinking and disorder society’s problem? These latest measures would that Government leaning has in fact swung the other way- the Late Night Levy forces late night retailers to contribute extra funds towards policing, clearly indicating that the burden is not to be evenly spread.
On the other hand, Government have resisted pressure to follow Northern Ireland and Scotland and limit the density of licensed premises. Alcohol Concern have targeted off licences in their research summary, One on every Corner, and argued that the Government should introduce measures to regulate off licence density. The Licensing Act 2003, however, stipulates that a premises licence application in England and Wales cannot be rejected on the grounds of geographic density.