Drinking venues slump on underage drinking tests

By Liam Garrahan

- Last updated on GMT

Drinking venues slump on underage drinking tests
Drinking venues across the UK are performing badly in the fight against underage drinkers, according to research by Serve Legal, an independent auditing body of age-restrictive sales.

Bars, clubs and pubs passed 70 per cent of the 6,800 age check tests composed by the body in 2015, with leased or tenanted premises passing 64 per cent of ID check tests, compared to 71 per cent of managed establishments.

The investigation shows that the presence of door staff has a ‘significant impact’ on test results. The data shows that staff passed 37 per cent of ID verification check tests when there were door personnel in operation, while they were more vigilant when they were not (70 per cent pass rate).

Serve Legal says that these results occur as staff assume that the door personnel have already performed ID checks and that this can be addressed by additional training.

Ed Heaver, director of Serve Legal, said: “With 29 pubs closing every week, we appreciate that training programmes and a regular age check testing regime aren’t necessarily top of their agenda.  But local authorities and the police impose heavy penalties on those caught selling alcohol to children which could put even more operators out of business.

“Rigorous testing demonstrates commitment to responsible retailing.  Operators that introduce regular testing programmes see compliance levels improve almost immediately.”

Intertain Ltd, who operate the Walkabout sports bar chain, run a regular age verification testing programme with Serve Legal. Since 2008 it has seen pass rates rise from 51 per cent to 94 per cent.

Intertain Ltd, chief operating officer, Simon Kaye said: “Our test performance scores have almost doubled in the time we’ve been working with Serve Legal.  This work has also had a positive effect on customer service levels and door staff satisfaction.”

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