When it comes to underage sales regulations, UK retail is still far from being 100% compliant.
In spite of the risk of facing severe consequences, in 2018 Serve Legal, the UK’s leading retail age check company, published some worrying features regarding underage sales in the last years. Serve Legal has been carrying out tests with young-looking mystery shoppers trying to purchase age-restricted products, and the findings show that one in six mystery shoppers managed to buy alcohol unchallenged in the last five years. Moreover, one in four mystery shoppers were able to buy knives from high street retailers.
This year, The Sun reported that Decathlon was fined £20,000 for selling a knife with an 8cm stainless sell blade to a 16-year-old girl in London. And when it comes to the sale of alcohol, despite the impact of policies such as Challenge 21 and Challenge 25, UK retailers are still far from being 100% compliant with regulations.
“Those that believe that responsible retailing doesn’t matter to the bottom line are misinformed. Failure to invest in staff training, performance and processes around age identification checks puts any retailer at risk of selling alcohol to children and to the penalties of being caught doing so”, as the Retail Times remarks.
What is the legislation around Age-Related Sales?
Legislation prohibits all retailers from selling age-restricted products to a person under the minimum legal age. Failure to comply with the legislation can lead to penalties including fines and imprisonment – as well as revocation of the alcohol licence.
The only legal defence for retailer is to prove that they took ‘all reasonable precautions’ and exercised ‘all due diligence’ to avoid committing an offence. Therefore, it is the retailer’s responsibility to verify that they and their staff do not sell age-restricted products to people under the minimum legal age and are taking all measures necessary to prevent underage sales. Mandatory regulation stipulates that retailers are required by law to ensure that every single member of their staff who sells alcohol on their premises have received at least 2 hours of training surrounding the sale and supply of alcohol.
Employers are also required to complete and retain a training record for each staff member who handles alcohol. All training records are subject to inspection by Licensing Standards Officers upon request.
Time and cost-efficient online training solutions
For these reasons Bolt has developed an Age-Related Sales training module for retailers and their employees. The 25 minute module will aid anyone who sells age related goods to be able to recognise these items, follow the law with confidence and deal with customers who might challenge them. It is suitable for any trainee seeking an overview of regional legislation about the sale of alcohol and other age restricted products, with a focus on either England & Wales or Scotland.
The Age-Related Sales eLearning Module is a fully online interactive course and assessment, accessible on any device, 24/7, with no time limits. A certificate can be downloaded upon successful completion of the eLearning module. Learn more about the module here.
Business owners / managers can distribute the training via email to your new employees and have full visibility of when training has been completed as well as any gaps in their employee’s knowledge. Refresher training can be provided to ensure their training is regularly updated. Our LMS also provides real-time access to training records if requested by Licensing Standard Offices.
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