On-trade

Call for common sense over Scotland’s ‘Challenge 25’

Scotland’s recently-introduced Challenge 25 scheme has run into difficulties of the interpretive kind already in some parts of the country with some licensees fearing that they’ll lose their livelihoods if they don’t query all customers for ID if suspected of being under 25 and thereby engendering offence from customers who’ve been buying alcohol at the outlet for years.

A call for a “common sense approach” to alcohol sales was made by one licensing standards officer in West Dumbartonshire, Peter Clyde, who  stated recently, “There is a mandatory Challenge 25 policy. Should anyone appear to look 25 or younger they will have to prove their age.

“That doesn’t mean staff must ID everyone who is under 25, although that’s the general implication.

“General teething problems suggest there is some confusion.

“The example that I have heard was a manager refusing alcohol to someone who was 24 and has been going to a pub for six years.

“Licensees have ended up in situations of confrontation because they are asking customers who have been coming into the premises for years for ID.

“I think a common sense approach is required from the public, staff and management.

“However I can see where the staff are coming from. Nothing protects them when an underage sale is made other than them having taken reasonable steps to ask people for ID.

“Members of the public should be patient. Because it’s in the early stages of the Act they might find themselves getting asked for ID. It will be a bit of a culture shock to some.”

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