Dunstable pubs fail the ‘drunk’ test

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Every Dunstable pub, club and newsagent presented with a ‘drunk’ patron, continued to serve them alcohol a sting by Beds Police uncovered.

The police undertook an operation on Friday (23 March) to see if outlets in Dunstable would sell alcohol to people who are already drunk.

With help from volunteer professional actors, officers from the licensing team conducted the operation to raise awareness of the implications of selling alcohol to drunk people and to help tackle alcohol-related violence and harm.

The operation tested locations in Dunstable, including pubs, clubs, and newsagents, and all tested made sales to the actors, who were displaying signs of excessive drunkenness, such as unsteadiness, slurred speech, and loud, boisterous behaviour.

More than once the actors were given advice on drinks to buy to get “the most drunk”, were encouraged to buy shots, and were upsold double measures.

Licensing Sergeant Liam Mitchell said: “This operation has highlighted just how lax the sale of alcohol can be treated, and has been a good learning experience for the venues and staff involved.

“Not only is it an offence to knowingly sell alcohol to a person who is drunk, but excessive drunkenness fuels night time economy-related violence and places people at risk. The message is simple to venues: if someone’s clearly had too much, then refuse the sale, offer them water, and check that they are safe.”

Advice has now been given to all of the locations. Councillor Ian Dalgarno, Executive Member for Community Services at Central Bedfordshire Council (CBC) added: “CBC is committed to making our town centres welcoming, safe and vibrant places to go out. That is why we are working with partners to run the Best Bar None scheme here again in Dunstable, Houghton Regis and Leighton-Linslade.

“All venues gaining Best Bar None accreditation are committed to operating to a high standard and in a responsible manner. That means everything from making sure that customers and staff are safe to ensuring that the toilets are clean.

“The assessment process for this year’s awards is currently taking place, but past figures show that more and more premises are keen to take part with 22 venues accredited last time compared to six when we started in 2014.”