promotions including "all you can drink for £10"
and "dentist chairs" will be banned under tough
new powers introduced from today, announced Home Office Minister
It is estimated that alcohol-related crime and disorder costs the
UK taxpayer between £8 and £13 billion a year. The mandatory code
introduces five conditions for all alcohol retailers which will
ensure consistent good practice and crack down on problem premises
where irresponsible drinking could put individuals at risk and
lead to crime and antisocial behaviour.
The conditions that coming into force today are:
- banning irresponsible promotions such as "all you can
drink for £10" offers, women drink free deals and speed
drinking competitions. These promotions encourage people to drink
quickly or irresponsibly and could lead to crime or antisocial behaviour;
- banning "dentist’s chairs" where drink is
poured directly into the mouths of customers making it impossible
for them to control the amount they are drinking; and
- ensuring free tap water is available for customers - allowing
people to space out their drinks and reduce the risks of becoming
The remaining conditions come into effect on 1 October to give
retailers time to prepare. They are:
- ensuring all those who sell alcohol have an age verification
policy in place requiring them to check the ID of anyone who looks
under 18 to prevent underage drinking which can lead to antisocial
behaviour and put young people at risk of harm; and
- ensuring that all on trade premises make available small
measures of beers, wine and spirits to customers so customers have
the choice between a single or double measure of spirits and a
large or small glass of wine.
Home Office Minister Alan Campbell said:
"Alcohol-related crime costs the UK billions of pounds
every year and while the vast majority of retailers are
responsible, a minority continue to run irresponsible promotions
which fuel the excessive drinking that leads to alcohol-related
crime and disorder.
"The code will see an end to these promotions and ensure
premises check the ID of those who appear to be underage helping
to make our towns and city centres safer places for those who just
want to enjoy a good night out."
Any premises that breach the mandatory code or any secondary
conditions that have been imposed will face a range of possible
sanctions including losing their licence, having additional tough
conditions imposed on their licence or, on summary conviction a
maximum £20,000 fine and/or six months imprisonment.
Following a nationwide consultation in 2008, which generated more
than 7,000 responses, the Home Office actively engaged with the
alcohol industry to develop the final five conditions and to
produce a "best practice" document for all
retailers which sets out the best voluntary initiatives that the
alcohol industry has produced.
Charlotte Elmer, Heineken UK, said:
"We welcomed the opportunity to participate fully in the
consultation process on the mandatory code and found the Home
Office to be open and responsive in taking on board industry
concerns about some elements of the original draft.
"This partnership working approach has ensured the final
version of the Code is proportionate, raising standards by banning
the extreme end of promotions, such as drink all you can for £10.
We do not believe this kind of deep discounting to drive footfall
sits side by side with the promotion of responsible consumption.
"We also welcome the requirement to ensure free tap
water and smaller measures are available as another contribution
towards making town centres and our night-time economy a welcoming
environment for everyone and achieving our shared aim of reduced
alcohol-related crime and health harms."
As well as the new mandatory code the government also introduced
Drinking Banning Orders (DBOs) on conviction from 1 April on a
phased roll out starting in 25 local justice areas. An order will
allow magistrates to ban or prevent an individual who has
committed a crime under the influence of alcohol, from entering
any premises that sell alcohol.
NOTES TO EDITORS
1. The power to introduce a mandatory code of conduct for alcohol
retailers was granted through the Policing and Crime Act which
received Royal Assent in November 2009. The mandatory code was
approved by Parliament on 15 March.
2. The consultation on the mandatory code ran for 13 weeks and
was aimed at the public businesses, industry groups and interested
organisations. It included a series of regional workshops and
3. Industry good practice guidance, statutory guidance for
licensing authorities on the discharge of their functions and
“plain English” guidance for retailers and enforcement agencies on
what the code contains and the types of promotions it prohibits,
is also available on the Home Office website at:
4. The government announced its intention to create a mandatory
code in December 2008, to target irresponsible promotions in pubs,
clubs and off-licenses that could lead to alcohol-related crime
and disorder. This followed a survey in January 2008 which found a
disturbing level of irresponsible and harmful practice along with
limited evidence that current social responsibility standards are
consistently applied or effective in promoting good practice. In
July 2008 the Government undertook a public consultation on a
mandatory code. Over 90 per cent of approximately 2,000
respondents supported a mandatory code.
5. Problems associated with excessive alcohol consumption
- £8 billion to £13 billion cost of alcohol-related crime and
disorder per year, according to Government research;
- nearly half of all violent crime occurs between Friday evening
and Monday morning according to the British Crime Survey (BCS);
- a fifth of all violent crime occurs in and around licensed
premises according to the 2006/2007 BCS;
- between 2001 and 2008 the BCS has shown violent crime falling
but the proportion of alcohol-related violent crime remains
- 87,000 violent incidents involving glasses or bottles,
according to the BCS 2007/08.
6. Drinking Banning Orders (DBOs) on application were introduced
nationwide on 31 August 2009 as part of the Violent Crime
Reduction Act 2006 to tackle people who repeatedly commit crime or
anti-social behaviour while under the influence of alcohol.
7. The power to implement DBOs on conviction came into force on 1
April 2010 in 25 Local Justice Areas which are listed below. Any
magistrates’ court sitting in these Local Justice Areas will be
able to impose a DBO on any individual if they have been convicted
of an offence where they were under the influence of alcohol. The
court will be required to consider a DBO in all cases where the
individual was under the influence of alcohol at the time they
committed the offence:
South East Hampshire
and South West Staffordshire
City of Salford
8. For more information contact the Home Office Press Office on
020 7035 3535.
Home Office Press Office
Phone: 020 7035 3535