THE Scottish Government has been urged to give pubs clear guidance on enforcing new anti-bigotry legislation.
The Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act, which will be enacted on March 1, will introduce new offences relating to sectarian chanting and threatening behaviour at football matches and where they are broadcast.
Ministers have been asked to spell out the kind of behaviour that will be unacceptable in pubs to ensure operators don’t fall foul of the new laws.
Patrick Browne, chief executive of the Scottish Beer & Pub Association, has written to communities minister Roseanna Cunningham asking for “concrete examples” of behaviour which will soon be unlawful.
“Something in writing would be useful,” he told SLTN. “It’s really just to have examples of what type of behaviour would be acceptable and what type of behaviour would be unacceptable, and in that context how operators should react to it.”
With operators potentially facing sanctions for failing to enforce the new laws, Browne said the stakes are high for the licensed trade.
“If you’re running a busy pub on a Saturday when a football match is on and you fail to see something and the police witness it, you could effectively find yourself in front of a licensing board facing a review of your licence,” he added.
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We will work constructively with all partners in the licensed trade and beyond to ensure everyone understands their responsibilities when the new legislation comes into effect, to ensure it is effectively implemented.”