Police advice telling London pubs to demand photo ID is 'misleading', business leader claims

Matt Watts
·3 min read
AFP via Getty Images
AFP via Getty Images

Scotland Yard is being urged to withdraw “misleading and unlawful” advice that pubs ask customers for photo ID to stop households mixing.

The Metropolitan Police sent a letter telling licence holders that they should take steps to ensure groups in their premises were only from one household or part of a support bubble.

This could include asking for photographic identification with names and addresses, it added.

The letter, dated October 16, came the day before new Tier 2 coronavirus restrictions banning households from mixing indoors came into force in London.

It said: “Premises should take steps to satisfy themselves that the group (maximum six people) is only from one household or part of a support bubble.

“This could include requesting photographic identification with names and addresses.

“We ask that you support the MPS (Metropolitan Police Service) and the local authority by being proactive in discouraging groups from gathering in the public realm outside of your premises.”

But Michael Kill, chief executive of the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), said that following legal advice it was urging the Met to withdraw its “misleading and unlawful” advice.

He added: “The recent communication from the Met Police on October 16 we feel confuses an already confused situation.

“The conditions for trading are already extremely difficult and our entire sector have taken reasonable measures to ensure guidelines have been met and people are kept safe within their premises.

“Following legal advice we will be requesting that the Met withdraw their misleading and unlawful advice and issue a statement that reflects the correct current legal position.

“This is typical of erroneous advice and enforcement activity up and down the country.”

It comes as Boris Johnson today came under growing pressure to end the 10pm curfew on restaurants in London.

Business leaders and Mayor Sadiq Khan branded it “nonsensical” following the ban on household mixing in hospitality settings.

Mr Khan said that now London is under Tier 2 restrictions, which stops households from mixing in any indoor place, there is no longer a justification for forcing hospitality venues to close early .

He said that immediately lifting the curfew would allow more households to eat out and help preserve thousands of hospitality businesses, while ending scenes of crowded streets and public transport as time is called simultaneously in pubs across the city.

The Met has defended its letter and said its primary aim was to keep Londoners safe and ensure coronavirus restrictions were followed.

A Met spokesman added: “The main purpose of this communication has been to keep licensees informed of updates around Covid legislation, including recently the new measures that have come with the move to ‘Tier 2’ status in London.

“The local advice from one of the Met’s licensing teams about this is just that - advice. It was well-intentioned and we hope that it is taken in that way.

“Our primary aim is to help keep all Londoners safe and ensure, through engagement and explanation, that the relevant Covid legislation is adhered to.”

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