The 2003 Act gives more freedom and flexibility for businesses and consumers, but this has been very carefully balanced with extremely strong and flexible powers to deal with the small number of businesses who fail to comply with licensing law. These powers represent a genuine sea change in the running and regulation of the sectors licensed under the 2003 Act. When fully implemented in November 2005, the 2003 Act will, in relation to:
Retain or modernise the existing offences of:
Expand the existing court powers, on application by the police, to close all licensed premises and those for which a temporary event notice has effect within a specified geographical area for up to 24 hours where disorder is occurring or anticipated.
Expand the police powers DCMS introduced in December 2001 to close down disorderly and excessively noisy licensed premises such as pubs, nightclubs, restaurants and hotels, one off raves instantly for up to 24 hours.
Abolish the fixed and artificially early closing times which we believe encourage binge drinking and result in large numbers of young people hitting the streets simultaneously causing the police enormous difficulties.
Provide a new mechanism for reviewing licences when problems relating to the licensing objectives arise, backed by an extended range of measures, rather than the current practice of having to await renewals before any action can be taken and then only having the option of renewing or not renewing the licences.
Allow the police, or indeed any responsible authority or interested party (such as a local resident) to ask the licensing authority to review a licence at any time on grounds relating to any of the four licensing objectives.
Allow a flexible range of measures to be taken after the review that hit the profits of the business including:
Enable the police to seek court orders banning the sale of alcohol on train routes or at stations either temporarily or permanently.
Ban the sale of alcohol on any moving motor vehicle.
Bring river and coastal "booze cruises" into the licensing regime (at present such "cruises" can legitimately be laid on for 14 year olds and are totally uncontrolled) and thereby extend the police closure powers to them.
Updated: 22 September 2010