Staff must understand it is their responsibility to check that the people they are serving are not under age.

Staff must understand it is their responsibility to check that the people they are serving are not under age.

Preventing underage sales of alcohol has always been an issue that both managers and staff have had to deal with when running a pub or bar. It has wide reaching consequences if someone gets through the net and can be costly for all those involved. Due to this it is important that policies are put in place to make sure staff are trained to deal with prospective underage drinkers.

There are a variety of approaches to this, but everyone involved must be advised to err on the side of caution and ID anyone they believe could be under 18. Many places train their staff to be even more stringent and implement a challenge 21 or even 25 policy in order to cover their backs. Staff must be made aware that it is the person who is serving the alcohol who will receive an £80 fine if they are caught and that more than one instance can lead to a fine of £1,000 and an appearance in court. This puts the specific onus on them, even if an establishment hires bouncers which check ID, bar staff must still remain cautious.

Now the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) has teamed up with SABMiller in a new initiative in order to help combat underage drinking, reports the Morning Advertiser.
It comes in the form of an education programme called the BIIAB Level 1 Award in Responsible Alcohol Retailing, which works as a training tool for bar staff.

Christine Thompson, manager of UK government relations at SABMiller, said: "The Scholars Programme is an important part of our approach to discouraging irresponsible drinking, because it gives people who sell alcohol in bars and shops the knowledge and the strategies they need to prevent under-age sales and identify the signs of drunkenness and other forms of intoxication."

Since instructing employees on how to tackle the issue is a difficult thing to do any new tools should be embraced by the industry. One thing is for certain, it is better to flatter a 35-year-old by asking for their ID than land a fine or have underage drinkers causing problems in the pub. Staff training is key to making sure that alcohol is only sold to those who are legally allowed to purchase it.
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