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Leicestershire Police Launch Challenge 21 Scheme

In September 2005 Leicestershire Constabulary launched a new proof of age scheme based on the Mitchells & Butlers Challenge 21 campaign. The scheme has been promoted in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland by Leicestershire Constabulary, in conjunction with the Trading Standards Service and the licensing trade, with the aim to prevent under-age sales and drinking.

The Mitchells & Butlers Challenge 21 scheme was introduced 18 months ago, to support and educate our staff in the difficulties of identifying under age customers. This is not an over 21s only entrance policy but instead we ask our staff if in doubt that a customer looks clearly under 21 then ask for ID.

The Challenge 21 campaign has proved a great success not only in helping our staff understand the difficulties in being aware of under age customers in a busy pub environment but also to educate customers to ensure they carry a form of ID. We have received very positive feedback from both police and licensing officers on the initiative and a number of police authorities, like Leicester have also launched the campaign.

Inspector Nigel Banks, Leicestershire Constabulary’s Licensing and Accreditation officer, said: "We appreciate that judging the age of customers can sometimes be challenging and in order to assist and protect licensees, the Challenge 21 scheme has been developed across Leicestershire.

Mitchells & Butlers use of the scheme highlighted how training staff on how to challenge people they suspect to be under-age and by keeping a record of those challenges, goes some way to show that licensees are undertaking their personal responsibility to prevent under-age drinking and illegal sales of alcohol."

The launch was attended by representatives form the Leicestershire Trading Standards, the British Beer and Pub Association and Mitchells & Butlers, manager Tamara Howarth of the Loaded Dog, Scream, Leicester.

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