Warning over ‘drugs in pubs’

A licensing expert is warning businesses operating in the sector to be aware of their responsibilities when it comes to tackling drug use in pubs and other venues.

Malcolm Ireland, head of Leisure & Licensing at regional law firm Napthens, said some premises fail to deal with the issue properly but with a few small changes could make a real difference.

Not taking the issue seriously can mean significant problems for an operator – including the risk of being stripped of a licence.

He explained: “It’s an important duty of all licensed premises to help prevent crime and disorder and to promote public safety, among other responsibilities.

“It’s an unfortunate reality that the night time economy is associated with drugs, but there is much that an operator can do to help and to ensure that they are fulfilling all their responsibilities.

“For instance, the British Beer & Pub Association recommends enforcing a robust drugs policy and ensure all staff are properly trained in identifying signs of drug use or supply. Installation of CCTV and effective door team can also play an important role.

“Failing to tackle a drug problem in a venue can potentially lead to police action and loss of a premises licence.

“Therefore, establishing and maintaining a good working relationship with the local police is critical, demonstrating a commitment and helping create a safe environment.

“Where we see problems occurring is also where an operator has buried their head in the sand or failed to recognise there is an issue, so its important to play a part.”