Strategies for detecting minors at licensed venues

Are you monitoring the entrances to your licensed venue for minors?Ensure that your licensed venue is managed responsibly by implementing strategies to detect minors.

Young people will often give themselves away by their mannerisms; conversations such as talking about school or school related activities; nervousness; looking around; and even by what they order to drink. Sweet drinks are particularly popular with young people including the new  ready to drink ranges.

Therefore, staff such as glass collectors or security that are moving about the patrons collecting glasses will be able to pick up these clues by briefly listening to conversations, noting body language, and nervous glances when approached. This is where teamwork is important as action needs to be taken immediately and bar staff informed accordingly. If the minor is an exempt minor and therefore lawfully allowed to be on the premises, there remains a need to identify them to all staff to ensure they are adequately monitored and do not obtain or consume liquor.

Checking ID

The way in which ID checking is carried out will depend on the category of licence (high risk/low risk), the size of the establishment, the number of entry points and the number of staff on hand. For example, a city nightclub or hotel will check ID at the door, a club or a country hotel will usually ask for ID at the bar and the restaurateur will ask for ID while taking an order at the table.

Regardless of the systems in place at the venue, if staff have not personally seen a patron‘s ID and have suspicions that the patron is underage, they should check the ID for themselves. Even if security check ID at the door, bar staff need to ask for ID if they have concerns about a patron as they can still be fined.

Other staff members such as the duty manager, supervisor, and even glassies, need to be alert and check for ID as they move around the venue. This provides valuable help to the bar staff.

Security Staff

Don‘t assume that all employees and security staff have the required knowledge. Ensure that all staff and security are trained and know:

  • to ask anyone under 25 for ID–this will screen a wide group of people and include minors who may look older than their years
  • no ID, no entry.
  • what type of ID is acceptable and to check the ID guide
  • when minors are allowed on the premises
  • how to deal with minors if they are caught
  • to fill in an ID confiscation report
  • to advise other staff, security and management.

Ensure that bar staff do not rely totally on door security and continue asking for ID to satisfy themselves and to screen all patrons.

Monitor entrances for minors

All entrances should be monitored to prevent a minor from finding an alternate entry point.

Areas surrounding bottle shops and outdoor beer gardens should be routinely monitored to ensure that minors are not loitering or accosting patrons to purchase liquor for them.

For larger venues or nightclubs, stop problems at the front door. Security staff can minimise the problems for bar staff by checking ID at the door. Individual checking at the door can prevent a minor from disappearing in a crowded room.