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Upholding licensing laws protects public from viol

Upholding licensing laws protects public from violence

Prosecuting bar managers for allowing intoxicated people on the premises is an important part of getting licensees to change their practices and to ensure public safety, says the Alcohol Advisory Council.

Licensees need to be seen to uphold the law, says ALAC’s Chief Executive Officer Dr Mike MacAvoy. He was responding to the suspension of a Wellington bar’s on-licence for two weeks as a result of a Police crackdown on bars which were not upholding the law.

“It’s a parallel issue to bar staff serving alcohol to underaged people. We are seeing progress around the laws relating to checking of age identification of young people by bar staff. However, the intoxication issue is one where we can do better. While the public may not be as aware of the rules, it is illegal to sell alcohol to an intoxicated person.”

Dr MacAvoy said that it was important that bar managers did not breach the Sale of Liquor Act in allowing intoxicated people to remain on the premises. Intoxication was linked to harm such as violence and street crime as well as being illegal. Having people on the premises outside of licensing hours and selling or supplying liquor outside licensing hours was also illegal.

“If we want to control violence in the streets, we need to uphold licensing laws,” Dr MacAvoy says. “They are an important part of public safety.”

Dr MacAvoy said it has been shown that a significant proportion of problems relating to excess alcohol consumption such as street disorder, violence and vandalism occur following the consumption of alcohol on licensed premises.

“Upholding the laws sends a message that drunkenness isn’t acceptable,” says Dr MacAvoy.

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