NPW has been made aware that Lord Foulkes of Cumnock has tabled an amendment to the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill. The amendment would be to introduce a new clause of Assault on workers selling alcohol. It reads:
(1) A person who assaults a worker who is required to enforce/comply with the Licensing Act 2003-.
(a) In the course of that workers employment, or
(b) By reason of that workers employment commits an offence.
(2) In this section-
worker selling alcohol means a person whose employment involves them selling alcohol under the provisions of the Licensing Act 2003.
employment in this context means any paid or unpaid work whether under contract, apprenticeship, or otherwise.
(3) This is an either way offence which carries a maximum penalty on indictment of two years imprisonment and/or unlimited fine. Summarily, the maximum penalty is six months imprisonment and/or a fine not exceeding the statutory minimum.
The proposal creates a separate either way offence of assault of a worker in the course of their employment, or because of their employment.
The Magistrate will decide whether the offence should be tried summarily in the Magistrates Court or on indictment in the Crown Court. For those found guilty of the offence prosecuted summarily it would mean up to six months in prison and or a fine of up to a maximum of L5000. For those convicted on indictment in the Crown Court, it would mean up to 2 years in prison and or an unlimited fine.
Workers in the pub and hospitality trade, particularly lone workers, are on the front line in relation to sale of alcohol and provide the first line of defence to unauthorised sales. They are expected to act in a socially responsible manner in the way that they run their businesses yet can often feel let down by the criminal justice system when things go wrong.
We fully support this amendment and hope that Parliament will take this opportunity to provide a real deterrent to the small minority of individuals who cause real damage to the reputation of the pub and hospitality trade and have no respect for the hard working people who serve them.