Saturday, 2 April 2005

Fines for bars/pubs serving drunks

The government has announced plans to fine bar staff who serve drunken customers.

Culture, Media and Sport Secretary Tessa Jowell said the fine expansions "send out a clear message".

"If the law is broken, both parties must pay a price," she said.

"Along with tough measures in the Licensing Act, these new penalty notices will give police further tools to tackle alcohol-fuelled crime and disorder head-on."

Ms. Jowell is correct in stating that a 'price' must be paid if the law is broken. But being intoxicated in itself doesn't violate others rights to person and property.

Kevin Beswick, manager at The Bridge pub in Manchester, said one problem was a lack of strict guidelines.

"One person could drink ten drinks and appear sober while another could be falling over. It's very hard to gage," he said.

IMO, this is an important point. It would be difficult to objectively ascertain who is drunk or not, since people 'handle their drink' differently. The amount it would take for one person to be intoxicated wouldn't be the same as another.

I feel people 'binge drink' in contemporary society because they simply are enjoying themselves. Often amongst youngsters, it is seen as the 'cool thing to do'. I don't believe the government should do anything to stop people from binge drinking.

However, actions have consequences and with freedom comes responsiblity. If a 'binge-drinker' violates the person and property of another whilst drunk, he should still be prosecuted. Binge drinking in itself shouldn't be illegal.