‘Drink Less Enjoy More’ is primarily aimed at 18 – 30 year olds and warns that they risk having their night out cut short as bar staff may refuse to serve them.
The initiative has been run in Liverpool since 2015, but now Public Health teams across Wirral, Sefton, Knowsley, Halton, Warrington, St Helens, Cheshire West and Chester and Cheshire East are rolling it out as well.
The aim is to encourage young people to cut back on how much they drink at home before going out – so-called ‘pre-loading’ - as well as how much they consume when visiting bars, pubs and clubs.
Drunkenness can have immediate health consequences such as alcohol poisoning, and can contribute to sexual violence, accidents and violent crimes. It places a large burden on health, police and other public services.
The ongoing Drink Less Enjoy More communication programme goes live again in October using radio, digital and outdoor advertising near shops, pubs and bars, with posters and other literature displayed in bars.
The initiative aims to raise awareness of the 2003 Licensing Act, which states it is illegal to:
- Buy alcohol for someone who is clearly drunk
- For bar staff to serve someone who is clearly drunk
Both offences are punishable with a fine of up to £1,000 and premises found to be serving people who are clearly drunk are also at risk of being stripped of their licence – but local research shows only half of people are aware of the law. An informational video has been produced to promote vigilance amongst bar staff in relation to sales of alcohol to drunks. the video provides:
1. Clarity about the law and consequences to the bar, it's bar staff and customers should they break it
2. Motivation for compliance ( i.e. it can be done as the Liverpool results indicate)
3. Advice as to how refusal should be refused with minimal escalation of problems
The video can be viewed here: http://ow.ly/5KEE30fzcDs
Fiona Johnstone, Interim Director for Strategy and Partnerships in Wirral and Alcohol Lead for Merseyside and Cheshire, said: “We have been encouraged by the success of Drink Less Enjoy More in Liverpool which is why we are now expanding it wider across Merseyside and Cheshire.
“We will be working in partnership with bars to provide training to raise awareness of the law and help bar staff to confidently refuse to serve people, ensuring people stay safe and have a good night out.”
“Research conducted in Liverpool City Centre shows a significant drop in the number of bars people serving drunks, down to 36% in 2016 from 84% in 2014 before the initiative started.