Mudcat Café message #1215995 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #70681   Message #1215995
Posted By: RichardP
29-Jun-04 - 02:06 AM
Thread Name: A little more news on Licensing
Subject: RE: A little more news on Licensing
Returning to the initial reason for this thread, which got quite out of hand, before it was reinvented as an important but unrelated thread about the forum and Local Authority Licencing Policies, let us be clear about the problems of hooligans viewing televised sport in pubs.

1) There are two entirely separate issues - the licencing of the pub premises and the actions of the hooligans watching. The TV on the premises was the catalyst for the offensive behaviour, but the actual behaviour was the act of the hooligans themselves. Furthermore, it was very localised - most of Britain only experienced it as a news item. However, in those cases where it occurred it was clearly inconsistent with the licencing objectives introduced with the new Act, and hence it is a matter with which the Act is concerned.

2) You no more need a licence to watch a TV (as distinct from receiving a TV signal) than you need a licence to attend (or perform in) a concert. Therefore the hooligans cannot commit a licencing offence under any law. On the other hand they may well be committing public order (or other non-licencing) offences. If they are the police can take action - but it gets harder and harder the more numerous the hooligans. In the ultimate use the riot act and call out the troops - but this has been recognised as over-reaction ever since Peterloo. The important fact is that no-one licences crowds or individual pub customers. So neither crowds nor individual pub customers can commit licencing offences. You have to use other legislation to deal with their offensive behaviour.

3) As far as the premises are concerned, present licencing law is no practical help at all. The only practical sanction is non-renewal a long time in the future. Under the new legislation a police officer could enter the pub which was the source of the offensive behaviour and close it for 24 hours. Just like that. That power alone needs to be exercised only a few times before landlords start to protect their own financial self-interest by seeking to regulate the unacceptable hooligan behaviour.

4) Although pubs do not need an entertainment clause in their licence to have a wide screen TV (and this is not really the place to reopen the equity of what does and does not require explicit licencing), they do have to prepare an operational schedule for the pub. In certain circumstances it is open to the Local Authority to require changes to the operational schedule. In cases of repeated occurrences of the bahaviour complained of at a specific pub, the operational schedule could be compulsorily modified to preclude the use of the big screen TV (or any other received) from being used on the days of big matches. It would need very few pubs to be subjet to such sanctions for all landlords to become protective of their livelihoods and seek to ameliorate the behavious of their rowdy customers.

Richard