Bar Man, by Jeff Hoyle, March 13, 2015

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Did you know that Section 141 of the 2003 licencing act makes it an offence to sell or attempt to sell alcohol to a person who is drunk, or to allow alcohol to be sold to such a person on relevant premises.

In addition a person commits an offence if, on relevant premises, he knowingly obtains or attempts to obtain alcohol for consumption on those premises by a person who is drunk.

So, if you sell alcohol to someone who is drunk, or buy alcohol for someone who is drunk you are committing an offence. However, judging from the scenes of carnage in our city centres on weekend evenings that I sometimes come across when I am channel surfing (I am male, I own the remote), the legislation is not proving terribly effective. In fact, I would go so far as to say that passing laws is a total waste of time unless some effort is made to enforce them. It seems that the police in London have taken this on board having launched a pilot scheme that will enable doormen on clubs to breathalyse customers attempting to enter, and turn them away if judged drunk.

Clubs that are perceived to have a drugs problem have been recommended to have sniffer dogs in place.

One club in Farringdon only had its licence renewed on condition that it employs seven dogs and handlers per evening after four drug-related deaths in three years.

In Spain a proposal has been put forward to class pedestrians as road users, and treat them in the same way as drivers, which means that they could be required to take on-the-spot alcohol and drug tests if implicated in a traffic accident. Of the 370 pedestrians killed in 2014, more than half had alcohol or drugs in their blood.

In the final analysis, I guess it comes down to personal responsibility. If you make the choice to drink alcohol, then you are responsible for the actions taken under its effect. I find it a little strange when I read the report of a court case where the consumption of alcohol is cited as a mitigating factor, and a reason for leniency.

Equally, it seems wrong that pubs, clubs and off-licences can sell people drink and then deny all responsibility for the consequences of the consumption of the product.

Judging by the incessant adverts on TV and cold calls on my phone urging me to sue somebody for mis-selling something, or claim compensation for an accident, I am out of step with much of society. However I feel that lots of problems would be avoided if those who drink or sell alcohol took a bit of responsibility for their decisions. Will actions like these solve the problems or will they just displace the anti-social activity to other venues that are not monitored as closely? Should drunkenness itself be a crime or should it be the actions undertaken as a result of being drunk?