4 July 2007
Dear Mr Blows
HEALTH ACT 2006 ALLEGED FAILURE TO comply with a duty/DUTIES –
The DOG INN,
Further to the visit made to you yesterday by myself and Jane Coxwell, I confirm that we had received intelligence alleging that you are failing to comply with one or more duties under the above legislation. That intelligence comprised a telephone call from a person who did not give his details, and a number of recent ‘articles’ in the media.
Herefordshire Council have two "saftey officers" it appears that both of them turned up to deal with this flagrant contempt for Her Majesty's dictat. What is more they will take annnonymous tip offs to but their hobnails on and charge across country. into action. Not only that, but what is all this about scare quotes around the word 'articles'? Here is one, and here is another. It as if the authorities are terrified of the comments section that fully supported the publican's position.
During the course of the visit we discussed a range of issues associated with the legislation but, in particular, 2 areas:1. The ‘status’ of the pub i.e. you contend that the pub is your home and that you invite your customers into it. My stance that the pub is a public place as defined in the Act and therefore smoke free, was explained to you. My stance, which is also the stance of the Council, therefore means that it is your duty to ensure that no person smokes in the pub (and that includes yourself).
He is the landlord, like so many free houses the bar is his front room. It is his house. (Ok he might be pushing it with the inviting people in arguement) but the the point stands. His property, not the governments.
2. Taking ‘reasonable steps’ to stop persons from smoking. You informed me that when you have someone in the pub who is smoking or lighting up, you point out the signs and tell them that they may be liable to a fixed penalty notice. When I asked you what you do if they do not stop smoking, you informed me that asking them to stop is the extent of your intervention. I put it to you that there are further steps, such as asking/making them leave the pub, that you could reasonably be expected to follow and that not following such steps would be inadequate and would leave you open to prosecution.At what point did it become normal for the government to require that the individual, who is not under Queens regulations to act as an agent of the state? As Mr Blows told me, "I warn people about the rules, but I will not become party to the Council's petty-minded, illiberal and mean-spirited oppression."
We discussed your responsibilities under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and in particular that you no doubt have controls in place for dealing with potentially violent customers to reduce the risk to yourself and your staff. Such controls should suffice for dealing with persons smoking. I handed to you an extract from some guidance that dealt with steps duty holders could take and an example of a log you could keep to record incidents.Oh yeah, like he has any intention of throwing them out. He is a publican of many years experience in a small village pub. If he has trouble he knows how to deal with it. Indeed the only real likelihood of him having trouble is when he attempts to turf regulars out ofthe bar for haveing a quick smoke.
I have spoken with PC Steve Thomas at the Police Licensing Unit who would be pleased to visit you to discuss any issues you may have regarding dealing with non-cooperative customers. Please let me know if you would like me to ring him.
As far as further information is concerned, please try the web site for DOH info http://www.smokefreeengland.co.uk/ (click on the guidance box on the right hand side); web site for legislation http://www.statutelaw.gov.uk/ To summarise, this letter confirms the warning (given to you at the time of the visit) that failure to stop persons smoking at your premises may result in formal action being initiated against you.
And here comes the intimidation.
A further visit to the premises will take place if either I believe that offences are likely to be committed, or the Council receives intelligence that offences have or are being committed.
We would like to encourage some further public spirited type fellows to sneak on Mr Blows. Interestingly I undrstand there is a former police superintendent in th evillage who has complained about the pub's hanging baskets, argueing I believe that they constitute a hazard. Have we found the sneak?
If a further visit is made and offences are witnessed, you will either be cautioned and interviewed at that time or invited to attend an interview under caution. During the interview, you will be given details of the offence(s) and given the opportunity to bring to our attention any matters you may later rely upon in Court. Following the interview a decision will be made as to whether to recommend to the Head of Environmental Health and Trading Standards to initiate a prosecution.
If there is any clarification required with respect to this matter or any advice needed on compliance then please do not hesitate to contact me.
PAUL NICHOLAS ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH MANAGER (COMMERCIAL)ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH AND
Can we have our country back please? The one where freedom was not only respected but was in the very marrow of every man jack amongst us.