Physical features of licensed venues: Overcrowding

RMLV tips to help make your venue safeIn today’s blog, we start examining the physical features of a venue, and what elements can negatively interfere with the safe operation of your venue.  RMLV training is specifically designed to help managers run a venue safely and legally.  In the meantime, here are some areas worth examining.

Some factors that contribute to the incidence and severity of alcohol-related problems in licensed venues are linked to physical features of these locations. These features include:

  • High concentration of people

  • Crowd congestion

  • Not enough services to cater for demand

  • Physical hazards, such as type and placement of furniture

  • Lighting that facilitates anti-social behaviour and increases anonymity

  • Insufficient and unclean toilets.

These features tend to be problematic when they co-exist with the consumption of alcohol.

Door staff must: regulate entry and exit points, implement policies restricting availability of pass outs, and assist in maintaining control over patron numbers – playing a key role in the regulation of intoxicated crowds.  Well regulated door staffing helps maintain crowd control and entry regulation to limit ‘pub-hopping,’ which can contribute to inter-group conflict, fights, crime and public disorder.

Overcrowding in confined spaces (such as walkways, dancefloors and around bars) is known to increase frustration and aggression in patrons.  To prevent this, internal premises should be laid out to provide a steady flow of movement throughout the premises, with low-risk furniture spaced out around the venue to avoid blocking walk areas and access to facilities and services.

When an area is crowded, this can interfere with staff’s ability to determine whether an individual is intoxicated.  This is attributed to:

  • Pressure to serve quickly resulting in reduced attention to indicators of intoxication

  • Purchase of a number of drinks by one patron on behalf of other, often unseen, patrons

  • High levels of noise which interfere with staff ability to hear verbal cues of intoxication, as well as verbal confrontation that may lead to aggressive acts.

These factors can adversely influence the ability of staff to assess IDs by purchasers and consumers of alcoholic beverages. Consequently, service to underage patrons may occur, placing the licensee, their staff and the patron, at risk of legal action.

Considering your venue’s entry and exit points is also important, as well laid out exit points can assist in minimising the interaction between drinking patrons and the general population.

Liaising with the police and other emergency services to conduct a safety audit is another good measure, to ensure your venue is safe and address any areas that may pose a hazard.

You can find out more techniques to prevent overcrowding in your venue when you sign up to our RMLV course.