Saying ‘No’ To Underage Drinkers

Responsible Service of AlcoholHere are four basic steps that RSA staff on licensed premises can take to stop minors gaining access to alcohol.

Step 1 – Be alert and proactive

Experienced staff must always monitor their premises inside and out, because they know prevention is better than cure. If there’s a group of youngsters hanging around outside, a quiet word early on will often be enough to send them on their way. Make sure all required statutory signs are clearly displayed – this will make under 18s think twice before attempting to buy alcohol.

Step 2 – Stand your ground

Troublemakers can be persistent, but you have to make it clear that you won’t serve someone who is under 18. Tell the customer that you’d be putting your licence at risk if you serve them alcohol. A refusal can embarrass a customer, so be tactful and maintain a professional tone. If faced with a group, move the person you’re talking to away from the rest – this lessens the chance of them playing to the crowd.

Step 3 – Avoid blame

Politely stress your legal obligations when refusing to serve someone or to allow them on your premises. If you’re asking for identification for proof of age, emphasise it’s nothing personal but the law requires it. Confirm it’s the policy of the premises to make this request of anyone where a person’s age is in doubt.

Step 4 – Ask for evidence of age

If RSA staff suspect someone of being underage, politely ask for identification – such as a NSW RTA Photo Card, a driver licence or a passport.