River safety review considers the role of Shrewsbury pubs and bars in keeping people safe

A review of river safety in Shrewsbury as a result of a number of deaths and water incidents is considering the role of pub and club licensees in tackling the issue.

English Bridge, Shrewsbury
English Bridge, Shrewsbury

Shropshire councillors asked how licensees decide if a customer has had too much to drink when they discussed a report at a meeting on Wednesday, and were told that it is a matter of judgement.

Mandy Beever, the transactional and licensing team manager at the authority, said the issue being looked into is "risk management" along the river if people have too much to drink, and the role of premises licence holders as part of a bigger team.

"It is a question of the responsibility of licensees for drunk people," said Ms Beever at the meeting of the strategic licensing committee. "The report is outlining their responsibilities and where they end."

She said that there is a culture of "pre-loading" with alcohol at home before people head to the pubs and clubs.

"It is a real judgement call for licensees whether to serve people or not. There is no legal definition," she continued.

Licensees have to keep a log of the customers they refuse, prompting Councillor Pamela Moseley to ask how the system worked when people refused to give their names. She was told that they were required to record times and details of why they refused to serve.

Ms Beever said it's a real judgement call on the evening. Some people can have two glasses of wine and be drunk while others can have a lot more than that and be quite reasonable.

There are also a raft of other conditions that licensees have to abide by, including checking ages while work is ongoing to educate people and doorstaff about issues, as well as rangers keeping people safe in the town centre.

"Everybody is trying to work together," she added.

Councillor Nigel Lumby, the committee's vice chairman, said his police training in 1980 meant that officers were "experts in drunkenness".

They use smell, looking at someone's eyes and unsteadiness to make a decision. "It's not about just a slur," he said.

Councillors noted the report.

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