Sunday 10 January 2010

Tackling yob culture

We will never allow teenage tearaways or anybody else to turn our town centres into no go areas at night times. No one has yet cracked the whole problem of a youth drinking culture. We thought that extended hours would make our city centres easier to police and in many areas it has.

Any idea who said this and when? Go on have a guess? I'll keep you in suspense for now. Do you think that the person who said this got it right? Do you think they have accurately summed up how pleasant it is to stroll through our Town Centres at 11pm on a Saturday night?

The thing which really depresses me about teenage yob culture and problems associated with teenage drinking is that I believe that it should be relatively simple to tackle. I've sat the exam for Licensees, I know the law on the subject. Any licensed premises which fails to maintain public order can have its license to sell alcohol revoked. In the Borough of Barnet, there are certain pubs and shops which are known to be associated with drink related social problems. I wonder how many pubs & off licenses in Barnet (especially supermarkets) have had their drinks license revoked in the last year, following bad behaviour by their customers?

The solution is simple. Individuals who are arrested for drink related disorder should be given ASBOs banning them from ALL establishments in the London Borough of Barnet which sell drink. Every licensed premises should be given a list of names and photographs of all such people and any establishment selling Alcohol to such a person should lose, either on a temporary or permanent basis, their drinks license. You may ask the question "What about supermarkets, how could they police such a system with so many tills?". Well that is a business issue for them to resolve. They have to get a license to sell booze, the same as everyone else. If you are in the game of selling drink, you have to have a policy of responsibility. Big profits come with big responsibilities.

I'd suggest that Barnet have a "responsible drinking month". All areas where drink related disorder was a problem would be targeted and for 1 month, that would be the top priority for local police teams. Any drink outlets that didn't comply would lose their licenses for breaching the licensing act.

My guess is that there would be a huge tail off in all manner of crime as a result. I'd start by withdrawing alcohol licenses for 7 days. If the message didn't sink in, then I'd strip those establishments and individuals who put profits above the law of their licenses permanently.

Back to the quote at the top. Did you get it.  Prime Minister Gordon Brown said this to the Labour Conference in 2009. I'm taking a wild guess here, but I don't think Gordon spends much time boozing in Town Centre pubs at chucking out time?


Don't Call Me Dave said...


I think you are slipping back into swivel-eyed Trot mode! There is certainly an argument for banning yobs from public drinking establishments, but trying to enforce a ban which would prevent these people buying booze from off-licences and supermarkets is simply unworkable.

It is not the job of supermarkets (or any other businesses) to enforce the law. You wouldn’t expect a petrol station to say to a young driver “We’re not going to sell you petrol because you might drive too fast and kill someone”. It is not the supermarkets’ responsibility to stop binge drinking amongst a small percentage of the population. People must take responsibility for their own actions and accept the consequences.

In any event, even if you did ban someone buying booze, he/she could just send in a friend to buy it instead.

You can reasonably argue that a pub should not serve any more alcoholic drinks to someone who shows the signs of intoxication, but they should not be expected to take the place of the police in enforcing the law.

Instead of banning orders and Asbos, if miscreants were required to clean out the public sewers on a Friday night, that might make them think twice.

Rog T said...


All licensed outlets operate under the same laws, pubs & supermarkets. I don't care how much anyone drinks. I just believe that if they misbehave as a result of it, then they should not be able to easily purchase alcohol. Licensees are legal meant to uphold the four principles of the licensing act one of which is maintaining public order. This is the Law. When was the last time you think a supermarket in Barnet actually considered this when selling tins of special brew?

I don't think it is too much to expect companies to uphold the law. I'm not suggesting new laws, just enforcement of existing ones. If that is swivel eyed trotskyism, so be it.

Don't Call Me Dave said...


My point is, how practical is it to expect supermarkets, which have tens of thousands of customers every week, to start checking at the tills to see if the customer has an asbo? No doubt Labour would try and use this as an excuse for ID cards and greater state control.

To use my other analogy, petrol stations are not required to check your driving licence when you fill up to make sure that you are not banned. I don’t see why supermarkets should have to check for an alcohol related asbo. If you turned up as Tescos drunk, it is likely you would be escorted off the premises anyway, which is fair enough.

Rog T said...


Rather like security profiling at airports, a bit of common sense should prevail. Millions of hours are spent searching elderly nuns, families with babys etc.

My guess is that as most supermarkets have security anyway, it is not beyond the wit of these to spot people who are likely to be Asbo'D and check them against a photo list.

If someone comes in and buys a £100 of groceries and a bottle of wine, common sense should say they don't warrent checking and this would be a reasonable defence for a supermarket. Someone who buys six cans of special brew and nothing else would clearly be a far better target.

We have problems because we are too scared to apply common sense principles to easy tasks, for fear of upsetting people. We've losts ight of common sense