Supermarkets and the problems of the nighttime economy

One of the biggest issues in the management of drink fueled anti-social behaviour in Bath’s nighttime economy is pre-loading. This is where drinkers buy and consume cheap alcohol prior to their night out. Often the symptoms of drunkenness from this practice only become apparent after they have been admitted to licenced premises when they have topped up.

Licensees often have, in addition, to deal with the problem of customers smuggling cheap alcohol into their premises which as well as fueling increased drunkenness hits their profits and therefore damages a sector of the Bath economy.

Latenight revellers can regularly be seen drinking alcohol in the streets and on public transport in defiance of laws and regulations. Little of this drink is supplied by clubs and bars who are strictly regulated and who’s drinks are relatively expensive but it is readily available from supermarkets and off-licenses at very low prices.

In addition off-licences and supermarkets often offer multi-buy discount encouraging people to buy larger quantities than they may have intended. They also supply high strength drinks in pocket-sized containers.

Off-licenses and in particular supermarkets are in comparison very lightly regulated and under the current legislation, as interpreted by the licensing authority, hard for residents to object to or get conditions imposed on. They also fall outside the scope of the Cumulative Impact Policy.