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Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill Becomes Law

Royal Assent was given on September 15th. It was hailed by the Policing Minister, Nick Herbert as ‘a landmark in the government’s agenda to decentralise control and return power to the people.’

The licensing provisions of the Act insert amendments into Licensing Act 2003 and are ostensibly aimed at re-balancing the Licensing regime in favour of local residents. Important provisions include the removal of the ‘vicinity test’ for local residents, changes to temporary permissions allowing Environmental Health to object on public nuisance grounds, and lowering the evidential burden for residents at Sub-Committee hearings. Time will tell whether it will fulfil this aim- and it could be some considerable time.

The substance of many of the proposals remains to be revealed by secondary legislation and Government Guidance. The Home Office has confirmed that ‘None of the alcohol provisions in the Act came into force immediately upon Royal Assent. The PRSR Act includes a commencement provision for the Government to commence any or all of the provisions when it so chooses.’ (my emphasis). Thus, we are still somewhat in the dark about which provisions will come into force, when. Some may never see the light of day.