Isle of Man Publicans can no longer share details of thugs

11/11/19: Story courtesy of IOM Today

New data protection rules are causing a headache for pub and club landlords who want to ban troublemakers from their premises.

Introduction of General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) in the island in May last year has had unexpected consequences for the Pub Watch scheme.

Under the scheme, introduced in Douglas and Onchan in 2002 but extended island-wide in 2009, anyone barred from one pub may find themselves banned from all other Pub Watch premises.

But it has emerged that landlords who share photographs and addresses of troublemakers may find themselves in breach of GDPR.

Now the Department of Home Affairs and the police are looking to introduce new legislation next year so that licensees won’t fall foul of GDPR restrictions.

A spokesman for the DHA said: ’Isle of Man Pub Watch has proved to be an effective tool in upholding standards of acceptable behaviour in licensed premises since 2002 and has won wide support from licensees.

’The scheme has promoted the effective barring of individuals from licensed premises, in the interests of customers and the wider public.

’An issue has arisen in relation to circulation of information under the Pub Watch scheme, and a resolution to this is being formulated by the department and the constabulary in conjunction with Pub Watch.’

The spokesman stresses that in the meantime, measures will continue to be taken against those who misbehave on licensed premises.

He said: ’Those banned under Pub Watch have in the past avoided a court case and a potential criminal record – and this route has long been supported by the industry and police.

’However, criminal proceedings leading to a court order banning an individual from licensed premises will continue to remain an option for the authorities, where they are notified of incidents in the island’s pubs, clubs and bars.’

GDPR measures are designed to give people greater control over how their personal data is used and shared.

But it means processing of sensitive personal data requires ’explicit’ consent.

Ahead of GDPR’s introduction in the UK last year, National Pub Watch chairman Steve Baker suggested that Pub Watch schemes are ’controlling’, or ’processing’ personal data for their own ’legitimate interests’ by trying to prevent crime and disorder.

Registering with the Information Commissioner’s Office is not a ’get out of jail free card’, he said, as licensees still have to comply with the regulations but ’it does show that you are trying to be open about your activities’.

Mr Baker suggested Pub Watch schemes regularly review and minute their decisions and update their banning list.

NPW Editors comment: The Isle of Man has its own unique legal and governmental processes. It also has its own Information Commissioners Office. However, we do not believe that GDPR prevents the sharing of personal data for Pubwatch processes. It would be ludicrous to say that licensees do not have a vested interest in sharing personal information of anyone who is considered a threat to their businesses.

NPW has developed a range of documentation which is GDPR compliant and we have shared with IOM Pubwatch members and government officials.

Update 25/11/19: Courtesy Manx Radio

Police confirm scheme is continuing to operate despite GDRP fears.

A review of the Island’s Pubwatch scheme has found its practices need to be tightened to comply with data protection laws, but it can continue to operate.

Some landlords recently expressed concern that GDPR legislation was preventing pubs and bars from sharing information on those banned from entering licensed premises in the area.

A statement from Pubwatch and Isle of Man Constabulary has confirmed some aspects have had to be changed to comply with existing laws.

‘However the scheme continues to operate, with the police describing the ability to share images and addresses of known troublemakers as instrumental to its success.’