back to article Council urges army drinkers to break the law

At least one northern council – and possibly others – is publicly advising the owners of licensed premises to break the law. Is this a cynical attempt to avoid bad publicity? Or, as council officials describe the advice, simple "pragmatism"? The issue arose last month, with reports in This is Cheshire that Corporal Jon Dykes …


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  1. Richard 81

    Bloody silly

    Not the council, the law.

    Anyone know if it is possible to amend licenses if the government rules that Military ID should be valid under the same circumstances as a passport or driving license?

    A side note: Why is hardly any shops give military discount these days? Students, are fine, but not military.

    1. David Ward 1

      student discounts

      It is silly that any official form of ID is not accepted and on quite a lot of licenses the type of ID is not specified so in many cases it is the specificity of the license which is silly, the law itself isn't silly as it simply requires the terms of the license as set by the licensing body to be adhered to.

      IMHO a military discount is less common because the military is paid a wage for doing a job. Students are not paid as such, some are given some maintenance money to survive while studying, if you look at my stipend from one of the research councils when I was a post graduate student as pay then it worked out at less than £2 an hour. Establishments such as cinemas and restaurants often find it advantageous to make up numbers from the invariably large student population via discounts.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Sure, military should get a discount

      And so should IT staff, just to keep it fair. I'd also like free accomodation for my family.

      Working in the military is a job/career and should be treated as any other dangerous job. Perhaps deep sea divers should also get discounts as their job is dangerous?

    3. Peter 66


      Why a military discount, I want a working in IT discount.

      1. SkippyBing

        People in the military

        would probably like free accommodation as well, but the only time they don't have to pay for some under-maintained hovel they can't decorate is when they're somewhere the locals are less friendly than the UK. Well apart from Andover obviously.

      2. James 139

        too right!

        Tax Payers Discount!

        Oh and a "I have a job and its my lunch hour" fast track queue in shops.

        1. Just Thinking

          I have a job and its my lunch hour

          Are those the ones who are picking up sandwiches for the whole office and want to pay for each item with "different money", effectively being served six times without going back to the end of the queue, while I have a job and its my lunchtime too and I would have gone to a different till if there had been half a dozen aggling airheads there instead one one proxy gaggling airhead?

          Are they the ones you mean?

          I'm going for a lay down.

      3. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sure, military should get a discount

        However deep sea divers and other dangerous occupations generally pay at least ten times as much as an average military salary, since they're private sector. Grudging military personal a few perks like consumer discounts is rather churlish considering you'd be better off financially with a career at Tesco than in the armed forces, and significantly less likely to be killed or permanently maimed from an IED.

        My only complaint is that our armed forces is being used to benefit supposed allies like the USA and Israel, or to serve corporate interests rather than for the defense of the UK.

        1. Anonymous Coward

          paid less than tesco

          but tesco staff have less opportunity to shoot back

      4. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Dangerous jobs

        "Working in the military is a job/career and should be treated as any other dangerous job. Perhaps deep sea divers should also get discounts as their job is dangerous?"

        Yeah, yeah, they knew the risks when they signed up. But I still think there is a qualitative difference between jobs where you might have a nasty accident and jobs where there is someone out there actively trying to cause that accident. (This isn't unique to the army -- the police work under similar circumstances from time to time -- but the army get it a lot more than most.)

      5. Anonymous Coward

        Why free accomodation?

        You know that single soldiers in barracks and married soldiers with families still pay rent, council tax etc right?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Military discounts

      Re. Military discounts - Why should everybody else pay more?

      Part of our taxes goes towards paying military staff, which is fair enough. But why, having paid military wages from our wages, are meant to subsidise military staff further, i.e. paying more for our products/services so that they pay less. (And of course, if military are paying less, most companies aren't prepared to take a reduced profit...everybody else pays a bit more to pay for the discount our military friends are getting).

      I spend a fair amount of time in the US where military discounts regularly apply. I often benefit from this as my brother in law is in the US army, but would resent it somewhat if I were a US consumer having to subsidise their products/services (and these are hardly essentials...skiing, movies, theme parks etc.) so their (in many, albeit no doubt not all) well-paid and very well pensioned military personnel pay less.

      As a slight aside, there is the idea in this country too that only people who work in the military and public services "give something to society". It is mainly people who work in the private sector who generate to money that pays for all these public sector wages.

    5. Global_S

      They earn more

      Students don't have as much money as those serving? In fact all the blokes I know who are in the Army & Marines do ok for disposable income.

    6. scrubber
      Thumb Up

      They both should

      Not as a matter of course, but simply because they are available to do things (shop/watch films etc.) when the rest of us are at work. This keeps demand (more) constant and should rightly receive a discount to keep them out when the 9-6 people go to the shops/cinemas/restaurants.

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Military discounts.

      Why give the military a discount? Some of us like to support our troops. You know, the blokes that have friends maimed, crippled and killed with some regularity. They probably don't offer discounts for IT staff because comparatively all we get asked to do is work the odd Friday evening.

      Also, some people appear to have a rather loose understanding of retail. Selling things below the shelf price does not mean they are making a loss on the sale. Dealing with stationary etc. I have negotiated discounts of over 50% without the retailer looking that hard done by from the deal. That gives you some idea of how much retail prices are inflated over the trade prices!

    8. PDC


      My F1250 gets me discounts at Burger King (only at Moto service stations though), and Dominos.

      Do you actually bother asking about a military discount, or do you assume there isn't one because there is no sign?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Obvious question

    Why does one have to "show ID" to go out drinking anyway?

    Yet another law to repeal then.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Obvious Answer.

      As proof of age.

      1. scrubber

        Missing the point

        I believe the point was we should not have a minimum age for drinking, it should be up to the parents and the landlord to set age limits. Probably.

  3. Steven Jones

    Against the law?

    It's surely only breaking the law if the licensee allows an underage individual to buy drink, not whether they checked ID or not. There is no requirement to check against approved ID as such. However, if the licensee does not then and does sell alcohol to a person under the age limit then he/she is breaking the law.

    After all, it is only those who appear as if they might be underage that are asked for ID - not everybody and an appearance of, possibly, being underage is hardly an objective criterion. Maybe there is a specific bylaw that pertains to this in the area, but it is surely not UK law.

    nb. the laws about who can actually drink alcohol in licensed premises are not the same who can buy them. Under certain cricumstances it is possible for a 16 year old to drink beer and wine (with a meal and the presence of an adult).

    1. /\/\j17

      Not against the law - against the licence

      This probably isn't about it being against the law but about it being against the specific terms under which the licence was issued.

      If there has been trouble with either an individual licensee/establishment, generally in an area or sometimes randomly the council can impose restrictions or conditions on the licence at renewal.

      At a guess there has been trouble with under age drinking in the area so a mandatory age check with one of a list of approved forms of ID has been added to the licence conditions. As a result failure to comply can result in having the licence revoked and the landlord black-listed from ever holding a liquor licence again - which is a bit of a bugger if your profession is publican...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      There is breaking the law

      and then there is breaking the terms of your license.

      If his license states that he has to ask for proof of ID then him not asking is enough for an investigation/buttfucking. It's not enough for a guy from the council to say "oh it's ok, they wont do that" if, say, this landlord had a punter who started smoking on the premisis, and he didn't throw them out, and a complaint was made I'm willing to bet 10 whole english pounds that the "not checking id" will be thrown in as a 2 for 1 special and the guy, rather than getting a fine for a single mistake, would have the book thrown at him.

      The government will always be willing to sell you old rope...Not enough to make you feel good about having it, but enough to hang yourself with when you accidentaly trip.

      1. Steven Jones

        License conditions

        Clearly the requirement isn't to check everybody's ID (or at least I've never heard of anywhere in the UK where that has to be done). It's conditional - checking IDs only on those who might be underage. Hardly an objective criterion. I'm sure if an establishment got a reputation for serving lots of individuals who appear to be underage without any form of checks they might lose their license. However, that's a wholly different thing to breaking the law or acting illegally as the article stated.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Personally ..

    ... I'd tell the council to shove it. I feel desperately sorry for the soldiers, but it's high time authorities were made to face up to the sh*t they dish out.

    Remember the policewoman who was subject to an ISA check because she swapped babysitting duties with a colleague ?

  5. Anonymous Coward

    "and many older sets of conditions do not list military ID."

    Then update the list for crying out loud.

    "On the one hand, this does appear to be a sensible and, as the Council says, "pragmatic" solution to a real problem. "

    No it isn't. Update the list of acceptable IDs. That's the solution. That's all they have to do. Why don't they just do it instead of arsing around. Why can't those in government use their brains JUST ONCE.

    1. Mountford D

      No-brain government

      "Why can't those in government use their brains JUST ONCE"

      Because you do not need brains to get into politics. You just need the gift of the gab and the ability to convince an unsuspecting proportion of the population that you indeed know what you are doing.

      The "brains" (and I use the word very losely) behind any government are the same teams of civil servants and "mandarins" that remain in office behind whichever mouth that fronts the administration. "Promotion beyond one's abilities" springs to mind and this is the civil service after all. We can only hope that the job cuts about to be imposed by this government will address the problem however unlikely.

    2. peter 45

      It is not difficult

      Why would anything else be needed other than a letter being sent to each Licenced establishment informing them that they are updating the Acceptable Forms of ID list to include Military ID. You might even think they could even send a specimen picture so each Publican knows what one looks like. Tie that up with your database of Licencees with a mail merge aaaaaaand Print. Your job is done

      How is that not sensible, easy, pragmatic and totally foolproof? Oh wait. Council workers spending your money efficiently. Never mind.

      <icon of your cash going up in smoke>

  6. John Savard Silver badge

    Law Backwards

    We should want to ensure that no person who is legally entitled to drink is turned away. And, also, that no one not legally entitled to drink can do so.

    Clearly, what is needed is for someone coming into a pub to simply state his name and other information to uniquely identify himself... and, instead of carrying ID of any sort, the pub uses a computer terminal to pull up his photograph on a government database.

    This way, people convicted of alcohol-related offences can also be prevented from drinking.

    1. M Gale

      Re: Law Backwards

      You mean like a national registry of identities? A national identity register perhaps?

      Yeah, that didn't work out too well for the last government. Issues of trust and function-creep, and all. Plus the expense, plus forcing people onto it.

      Personally if someone asks me for ID, I show them the bare skin atop my scalp and declare that as my proof of age. You can use whatever bit of plastic will be accepted.

  7. Citizen Kaned


    if they arent allowed DOB on the ID (i guess since thats the reason they arent allowed to take passports), what happens to all the 16 year old squaddies? flash your military id and get served

    and to be fair the military prove time and time again that they should be drinking anyway, as i live in a town surrounded by RAF and military bases you wouldnt believe the shit squaddies cause regularly

    to the first poster - why the hell should military get discount? you sign up, you pay no tax etc etc. students are only students a short time and the idea of student discount is to help out poor students in the short term and make them into future shoppers. plenty of army guys earn decent wages, and those that dont get plenty of other advantages (pension, no tax, free home etc etc)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down


      Your Military ID Card does have your D.o.B. on it and what sort of a muppet are you,

      'you pay no tax etc etc'

      Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors and Marines all pay tax.

      'free home'

      All forces pay a portion of their wage as Accomodation charges (Granted not a lot but how much is a hole in the ground in the middle of Germany worth?)

      Please for the sake of sanity try at least to look up a couple of things before posting the mindless rantings of 'Shocked from Milton Keynes'

      1. James Hughes 1

        Free housing...

        They do get it, but it tends to be tents in the middle of Iraq or Afganistan, being shot at by bad guys, whilst serving their country. Which is more than you do, tosser.

    2. Richard 81


      I'm a student (PhD.) and not in the military. The Mrs is an ACF instructor and has an army ID card though, hence my interest.

      As it happens, as a fully funded PhD. researcher, I probably have less claim to discounts than anyone in the military. I'm paid, but I don't pay taxes.

    3. Anonymous Coward

      Erm, Citizen Kaned

      First off - shops offer a military discount to encourage sales. When word spreads lots of soldiers go there to buy things. It is a very effective way of bringing in sales by offering a fairly trivial discount. Very common.

      Most relevant - why do you think soldiers dont pay tax or get a free home? Neither is true so I would love to hear where this idea came from.

      ID cards have, and have always had, a Date of Birth marked on them. The only argument against them being valid would be lack of staff awareness as to what they should look like.

  8. Kevin Bailey

    We should give the police credit...

    The police in this country are more intelligent and pragmatic than many give them credit for.

    Cannabis has effectively been de-criminalised by the police off their own backs.

    And in good conditions without too much traffic most of the cars on the M4/M5 last Sunday were doing 85mph - and I've heard from a traffic cop who's said that it's only above 85 or stupid driving means that they take an interest.

    There has to be an element of pragmatism and intelligence in applying laws.

    I really can't see a council taking a publican to court for allowing one of our brave boys to use a military ID (probably better than most ID's) as proof of age.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Black Helicopters

      Great but...

      But then they will throw all the books they can at you if they want.

      It's fine to say that the police will turn a blind eye to one thing or another, but the fact that they are still illegal, means that they can go to town on you.

      In a way it's the best way to a police state; You have loads of laws that are routinely ignored, people get used to ignoring them, and everyone becomes a law-breaker. Then when you want to punish someone for nothing (they dated your daughter, or voted the 'wrong way' at an election) BAM several laws that they were breaking without fear put them away for life...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      Driving Offences

      I have heard lots of people claim that a friendly traffic cop has said they wont take action until it hits a certain amount over the speed limit.

      However, I have been stopped speeding on a deserted stretch of motoroway for travelling at 71MPH.


      I nearly laughed at the copper until he took me back into his car, breathalysed me and gave me notice of a fixed penalty fine.

      71 on an empty motorway.

      There should be NO pragmatism in laws, because that allows jobsworths and self important idiots to get lord over others.

      1. Geoff Campbell


        71mph on a motorway? In a 70mph limit?

        I call bullshit, until I see the actual ticket involved. I have heard this claim many times, and every time I've asked for proof, much dissembling has ensued. So, what'll it be this time? Put up, or shut up?


        1. Anonymous Coward

          Don't believe the traffic cop

          I was pulled on the M602 last year, but a lone copper, in a car without VASCAR or any other recording equipment. I knew full well that I wasn't speeding, as I'd clocked him as I joined the motorway infront of him. I was sitting at 70 on cruise control.

          He refused to tell me what speed he was booking me for, saying I'd find out in court, so I refused to sign his form. He threatened to arrest me if I didn't, so I told him to arrest me. He didn't. Instead he kicked me out of his car, and let me go. I drove to the local nick straight away to make a complaint.

          His Sgt later told me that it's a matter of policy for GMP traffic police to not stop anyone unless doing over 80. Turned out that a colleague of mine in the RAF Reserves worked with him, and he was known to be a bit of a knob. He ended up being suspended after admitting that he hadn't a clue whether I was speeding or not.

          So always challenge. Often they are trying it on. I'm sure that had it been my mum he had pulled, that she would have signed anything, as would the vast majority of the public.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dumb but.... is this nonsense about driving licenses being retained at barracks? That's just the forces thinking the law doesn't apply to them and they are WRONG. If they are driving forces vehicles on a public road then they need a license and just like the rest of us they are obliged by law to carry it. The only time they do not need to have a current UK driving license is when they are on govt (forces) property.

    The thing is - if you all take a step back and think - hands up who knows what the current military ID card looks like. I bet no more than 1% of the population have ever seen the current version.

    Also get a grip people? It is a CONDITION of the license of many pubs that they have to age-check a certain number of people each month and. Every month. Documented so it can be inspected by Plod/local licensing authority. So we have young Tommy back from slaying the country's "foes" and he's 18. Now who do you think is going to get asked for ID - young Tommy or his Sgt mate who is in his 30s?

    Whats the problem with him just carrying one of the age ID cards which are fairly prevalent - just like ANYONE ELSE HIS AGE. Why should everyone in pubs be expected to recognise and accept forces ID when for a few quid he can do what the rest of the population is expected to do?

    1. rhydian

      "They need a license and just like the rest of us they are obliged by law to carry it. "

      I don't think carrying your licence with you is a requirement by law. IIRC the law states that if you get pulled over and you don't have your licence you are given a "producer", also known as the "seven day wonder" which gives you a week to produce your licence, MOT and insurance docs at your local cop shop. Your photocard driving licence isn't valid without the paper countapart anyways.I do carry my licence around with me usually, but that is out of habit/needing ID.

    2. Anonymous Coward


      You are NOT obliged to carry your driving licence with you when driving a 'vee-hic-le' in the UK. That is a complete load.

      And ditto your insurance certifcate.

      Yes your obliged to HAVE one but in the event you are stopped. Then the Plod can tell if you have one and if there's any doubt you get a 'Producer' Similarly the Plod can tell from the MID ( if you are insured.

      Except where your stupid insurance company mistakenly take you off the MID then Essex Police stop you ad nauseum (OK once a day -I exaggerated for effect) until the Aviva idiots pull their fingers out of their orifices and put you back onto the MID - several days in fact. I can also tell you that after the first time if you sensibly DO decide to carry a copy of the cert then they 1/ salivate at the prospect of doing you for presenting a false instrument (summat like that) and 2/ Still check the MID before 3/ ringing your company. I can further state that dealing with Aviva under these circumstances is like wading through treacle. That is all.

      1. Rogerborg


        "You are NOT obliged to carry your driving licence with you when driving a 'vee-hic-le' in the UK. That is a complete load."

        Actually, you are. Producing it later is merely a defence that you can offer against the offence of not producing it at the time. Don't take my word for it: read the legislation.

        Road Traffic Act 1988 Section 164

        "a person driving a motor vehicle on a road [...] must, on being so required by a constable, produce his licence for examination


        In proceedings against any person for the offence of failing to produce a licence it shall be a defence for him to show that [...] within seven days after the production of his licence was required he produced it in person at a police station that was specified by him at the time its production was required"

        The HO/RT 1 'producer' is a courtesy, not a right. There's nothing to stop a copper arresting you on the spot, or the CPS beginning proceedings against you immediately, if they don't much like the cut of your jib.

        1. Steven Jones

          Grounds for defence not courtesy

          It's not a courtesy; it's legal grounds for defence. That's a completely different thing (giving a few days' grace for getting a tax disc is a courtesy, not an official ground for defence).

          In the case of the CPS there is plenty to stop them starting proceedings as it has to meet two criteria. Firstly there must be a reasonable possibility of a conviction, and there isn't as the production of a licence is officially grounds for defence. Secondly, it has to pass a public interest test. It's pretty difficult to see how it is in the public interest to prosecute somebody in these sort of circumstances, especially when there is no chance of a conviction if you present your licence within 7 days.

          Also worth adding, if you read the conditions then a constable can demand presentation of a licence not only if you are driving at the time, but also if there are reasonable grounds to believe you have been driving at the time an offence was committed. That would mean you'd have to carry it all times as there's always the possibility of having committed some offence of which you where unaware at the time.

          Incidentally, not all offenses are arrestable ones. There would almost certainly have to be other grounds for arrest than you just didn't have your driving licence on your person (in any event, it's pretty irrelevant whether you present your licence or not as, with your name and address, they can check anyway, and if you are driving your own car then they have other information including insurance and registration to give the copper a fair chance of establishing your identity).

      2. BristolBachelor Gold badge

        Photocard license

        Yes, it's funny that. A UK photocard driving license is valid in every European country... except the UK!

        In Spain it's the law when driving that you have to carry ID (for me UK passport and a certificate that I a am a foreigner in Spain), driving license, car documents, proof of insurance, proof that you have paid your car tax (bank receipt), proof that your car passed it's MOT (sticker on the window). If you don't have all the above, it's a fine, plus you have to go and show them.

    3. John Wilson

      Obliged to carry it?

      I hope no-one's obliged by law to carry a driving license when going to a pub for a drink or few...

    4. Anonymous John

      Re Dumb but....

      "and just like the rest of us they are obliged by law to carry it."

      Not in the UK. At one time, if you didn't have it to hand, you had to produce it at a police station within a few days.

      Now the police can check online at the scene.

    5. Samuel Williams


      ...but my understanding is that you do not need to carry your driving licence when driving; but if stopped then the police can demand that you present it at a police station within 14 days (I think).

      I certainly don't carry it. If my wallet got nicked they'd have my credit cards, DOB and address; which is basically all you need for an online spending spree. And if they had my house keys too, then bye-bye stuff...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Nor do I

        However AIUI you do have to carry it these days. I'm fairly certain New Labour shunted some crap about license/insurance into one of their many laws, if not then apologies on that.

        However - and I worked with the forces for years (radar design) there is an attitude amongst the army anyway that the law is optional for a lot of stuff. I watched a young lad take some rather heavy stuff out from Old Dalby (if anyone remembers that). No license. His Sgt said no problems you've passed your "test" but the basic issue was he didn't have ANY basic license. He got done. He may well have been qualified in army terms to drive what he was, but he didn't have a basic civvie license.

        Anyway the point about age ID stands. Not expensive. Not hard to obtain. Do it.

    6. Velv


      Errr, when was anyone in this country "obliged by law to carry" their driving license, or any form of ID for that matter.

    7. Clarissa

      Re: Dumb but...

      Actually you are not obliged by law to carry your driving licence with you at all times when driving. The Police are entitled to ask to see your licence at any time and if you do not have it immediately, you will be ordered to produce it to a Police Station within 7 days. Failing to produce within that period of time is an offence.

    8. Anonymous Coward

      Taking a further step back

      "hands up who knows what the current military ID card looks like. I bet no more than 1% of the population" Well me for a start and certainly each one of the approx 450,000 members of the armed services (not including all those ex forces, family members etc). Not exactly known for its rarity value then?

      Hands up all those who know what a CitizenCard ("The UK's Leading Proof-of-Age Scheme") looks like.

      Hands up all those who knows what a 'Validate UK" National ID card looks like

      Hands up all those who knows what a 'ProofGB" National ID card looks like

      Hands up all those who knows what a 'Young Scot" National ID card looks like

      Hands up all those who know what each one of the 15 regional ID cards looks like

      How to publicans and shop owners know about all these different forms of ID? Simple really, they have sample copies sent to them by the licencing department for comparison reference. Just how difficult would it be for the numtys in the Licencing departments to suddeny realise that there is such a thing as the Military in this country and add a Military ID to that sample poster?

      "Why should everyone in pubs be expected to recognise and accept forces ID when for a few quid he can do what the rest of the population is expected to do?" Well simple really. Why should he, he ALREADY HAS a perfectly valid ID issued by the Government, with his date of birth, already in his in his pocket.

    9. PDC

      What the current military ID card looks like

      John, you imply that there is just one military id card. Which one would that be then?

      I currently have the F1250 issued by the RAF, but when it expires it will be a MOD 90. There are different cards for contractors, family members, civvie workers, and even locally produced cards specific to individual stations.

      Now why is it that if my age was questionable, I wouldn't be able to use an ID card that gets me access to some of the most secure premises in the country? It's ridiculous that a card that allows me to draw a bootfull of automatic weapons can't get me a pint in my local, but a card that's issued by the portland group, that doesn't require security vetting to issue, does.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Steven Jones

    I agree with Stevens point. What is the law? Surely it is that somebody drinking in the premises is over 18?

    If some overzealous fuzz then pulls the licensee up on ID regarding military personel all he does is say that he didn't check ID because they looked over 18 anyways.

    If these fellows are old enough to risk their lives in Afganistan the least the authorities should do is allow them an unhindered beer.

  11. Graham Bartlett

    Not an issue

    Why would you ask for ID? Answer: because you think they might be under 18. Now I know it's possible for squaddies to sign up at 16, but honestly it's pretty rare, so the fact you're wearing uniform is a fair indication you're old enough for booze. (You might be a mean drunk, granted, so people might not *want* to serve you. But that's personality, not age.)

    It's clearly possible to take the whole ID thing too far. A few years back I was in Detroit, and a lot of restaurants have a blanket policy of "if you ask for alcohol, we ask for your ID". I personally saw a guy with a big white beard most of the way down to his belt being asked for his ID, just in case he happened to be under age. This kind of thing just wastes everyone's time.

    1. Richard 81


      "...the fact you're wearing uniform is a fair indication you're old enough for booze."

      True, except that I'm pretty sure they're not allowed to drink in uniform.

      At least, not with their beret on.

    2. qwertyuiop

      *NOT* in uniform I hope!

      Any sensible member of the Forces WON'T be in a pub in uniform. I think you'll find it's an offence against Queen's Regulations to be drinking on licensed premises in uniform.

      There was a case recently where one of our more rabid tabloids was laying into staff at a Weatherspoon's (I think) for refusing to serve two squaddies in uniform. Wetherspoon's pointed out they were doing the guys a favour as they were preventing them breaking the rules.

    3. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Trouble was... kids actually took to going to Hollywood lengths to alter their appearance: to the point of even looking like old codgers. There's also the problem of people with accelerated aging so that they look pretty old even though they're only kids or teens.

      PS. Many states in the US require the license card (which is in fact the only thing you get, no paper document) to be on your person when you drive.

  12. SuperTim

    dont let them in.

    Warrington boozers are full of violent drunkards just itching for a fight. Letting in underage squaddies (or even some of the overage ones) will do nothing to allieviate that problem. As far as i am concerned the more regulation in that town the better.

    Now a nice evening out on the tiles in runcorn old town is different. You are less likely to be punched and more likely to be glassed.

  13. Danny Roberts 1

    Can the bar staff know...

    "In a situation where a soldier, without other forms of ID, entered a licenced premise (and where there were no other factors of drunkenness or unruly behaviour), we would consider enforcement action against the premises owner for allowing military ID to be used, to be inappropriate and disproportionate."

    So do the bar staff know on entry who is going to become drunk and unruly? If not, then the safest thing is to refuse to serve and stick to the conditions of the license.

    Agreed with the AC above that the bars should stick to the law, the laws should have been properly thought out in the first place. Yes, I feel sorry for the soldiers but they should be making a complaint and getting publicity to get the law changed as well.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Where to draw the line.

    Clearly military IDs (Valid one's at least, not sure how easy/difficult these are to forge), would not be incorrect in terms of the information on them. (Except if the person printing the id wasn't paying attention at the time. Hopefully a rare occurence). So it's difficult to see why it should not count as a valid form of id.

    The problem starts when things go wrong. (I.E fights, drug dealing, clearly a bigger problem in some places than others, but not always something that can be effectivley dealt with or predicted, especially fights. I've worked in pubs.). and pub staff come before the licencing board and find themselved up against someone who'se going to play by the book.

    It could be that extra bit that costs someone thir job that they've done something technically wrong, but which has been 'agreed' to be let go.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      not sure how easy/difficult these are to forge

      probably more difficult than a driving licence See

  15. Anonymous Coward

    No ID, No Pint

    No soldiers, no freedoms!!

  16. Mike Hanna

    letters and/or digits

    Soldiers are allowed to buy alcohol for personal consumption on Army property from the age they are deemed able to die for their country - seventeen years and six months. A Forces ID Card (MOD 90) is accepted as a valid form of identification for EU flights. The fact he can't buy a pint in his local using it is ridiculous.

    Warrington, though, is a complete sh1t hole, with loads of fighting in the streets at kicking out time. It hasn't been the same since the Hitman and Michaela Strachan stopped going to Mr Smiths...

    @Richard81 - lots of high street places do still give Forces Discount, that I've seen, but don't advertise it very much and not all the PFY's on the check-outs know this, but if you ask they normally ask a manager. Even Apple gives Forces Discount of 15% - though not the 50% discount that they need to make some of their kit affordable... The MOD run a website listing about 1000 UK based websites offering all sorts of services which give the discounts, and ship internationally for free when serving abroad. So it's not all bad for young people wanting to spend large amounts of disposable income!

  17. Anonymous Coward

    You have got to be joking...

    "inappropriate and disproportionate"...."be pragmatic" just like Councils are invoking RIPA to check you are using the bins within the rules?

  18. Anonymous Coward

    Utterly stupid.

    Yes you can use a kill matic 9,000 firing a zillion rounds per minute and use it to shoot people in the groin from 9 miles away. But no sorry mate you can't have a pint of lager.

    Anyone see anything odd about that?

    1. SkippyBing

      Not really that odd

      I mean you wouldn't want a drunk operating a kill matic 9,000...

    2. Flugal


      Are they going to use their kill matic immediately after consuming their lager?

    3. John 110


      You'd want a kill matic 9000 wielder to be sober wouldn't you...

    4. smudge
      Thumb Down

      Nothing odd at all

      Mixing automatic weapons and alcohol usually ends in disaster.

      A more serious response is that someone who is under 18 (or who isn't clearly over 18) is far too young to wield killing power.

      If the minimum age for the armed forces was 40, there would be no more wars because no one would want to fight. Think we can get the Taliban and Al-Qaeda to agree to that?

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Minimum age for war

        "Think we can get the Taliban and Al-Qaeda to agree to that?"

        Not yet, and not there, but the demographics in Iran (not currently a model of liberal secularism) are quite interesting. The war with Iraq meant that just about every adult who wasn't a cleric was put on the front line and a large fraction didn't come back. Of their children, many of them were then sent to replace them. What's left is a country where two thirds of the population are under 40 and just about all of them would gladly sign up to your proposal.

  19. Chris Miller

    You say license, I say licence

    British English has two forms of this word: licence is the noun and license the verb - so you require a licence to drive to the licensed premises. Americans simplify this and use only the latter form.

    We now return you to our regular programming.

  20. Keris

    @John Naismith

    "If they are driving forces vehicles on a public road then they need a license and just like the rest of us they are obliged by law to carry it."

    Wrong. If you are driving you must have a current driving licence, but you are not obliged to carry it with you. If you are stopped and don't have it with you then you are given seven days to produce it at a police station (the same as your other documents). For that matter, if your licence is being updated by the DVLA (change of address you might be without it for up to three weeks. There is no requirement in UK law to carry any form of documentation with you, that's why there was so much fuss about ID cards if they were made compulsory.

    (In fact, the only place I've been in the UK where I was required to carry ID has been -- military establishments! Probably some pubs might ask for proof of age, but I haven't been in any which do so.)

  21. Anonymous Coward

    Army ID & Discounts

    As an ex-serviceman myself I can relate to the issue in this article, Army ID when i was in wasn't on an official proof of ID list due to a number of reasons one of them being the fact that the Army amongst all other branches of the military will not share its data with any other government agency as well as the ability to easily forge the details of the ID.

    That made things a bit tricky for me as I didn't have a drivers licence or a passport but whilst it wasn't on any official list people would typically apply a pragmatic approach if I displayed it to prove my age but (and whilst it was a pain in my arse), if I was refused then there was nothing I could do. They should incorporate the Military ID as a form of "proof of age" but to stop it being abused am sure they will need to make some changes such as improving the security measures.

    As to military discounts, originally the average pay for a squaddie was extremely low as you got free food, quarters etc so whilst the basics were taken care of there was never a lot of liquidity available in the ole wallet. The other reason was the owner wanting to show their support for the services or to draw in the servicemen themselves, these days though with how the military are viewed in some areas that is starting to fall by the wayside and I have to say looking at some of the comments here it seems to be a worrying trend in the general populace as well.

    Support for the Armed Services does appear to be dropping much to your own detriment and who is at fault here? The men and women who join the services and are to some foreign country for purposes not fully understood by the people or the politicians who do the sending?

    Those men and women do a tough and very demanding job every day, one that is truly 24x7 and yet you people want to begrudge them a bit of gratitude when they come home and want to relax?

    I have to say I am severely disappointed in that fact, I had assumed that a majority of El Reg readers were smart enough to understand that it’s not the people on the front line who deserve our ire.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up


      One of the sanest and most sensible posts I've seen on El Reg for a long while.

    2. smudge

      Can't agree with you

      "Support for the Armed Services does appear to be dropping much to your own detriment and who is at fault here? The men and women who join the services and are sent to some foreign country for purposes not fully understood by the people or the politicians who do the sending?"

      To my own detriment? I hadn't noticed!

      I didn't ask anyone to join the Armed Services, and no-one forced them to do so. Of course I wish absolutely no harm on any of them, but they shouldn't be surprised if they receive limited support from people like me who see them fighting a war which we didn't want, wasn't necessary, and which has made the UK less, not more secure. Yes I know you have to follow orders without question, but that was discredited a long time ago, and earns no respect from me.

      Getting back to the original subject, if someone is refused service in a bar, then they can always go elsewhere. As folk have already pointed out, if a publican breaks the licensing regulations, then that could be the end of their career. So I'm with the licensees here, and whether it's Service personnel or the local nunnery's day out is irrelevant.

  22. EvilGav 1

    @ several

    As has been pointed out, many times now, there is no legal requirement in the UK to carry *any* document, at any time.

    Licensing laws are different council to council, locally the licensing laws state that anyone who looks under 25 should be asked for ID (this goes for the sale of alcohol anywhere). This does provide for some funny encounters, i've known people close on 40 to be asked for ID.

    Military ID may not be known to everyone, this is very true, but it is well known for anyone who lives in a town with a barracks in or near it (I live in a town with 3 barracks in it and one just a few miles outside).

    Finally, military discounts - given the existence of the NAAFI, i'm not sure why anyone would expect discounts to be available off base.

  23. P.Nutt

    Common sense required.

    As long as its a valid army ID I cant see any issues...apart from some anal landlord deciding use it as an excuse to stir things up at the council about there rules. Knowing what these guys and girls go through in Afghanistan (Have pals over there at the moment) I would happily shake and service persons hand and buy them a drink myself.

    1. peter 45


      If you bought a pint for someone and did not 'know' they were old enough, could you be done?

  24. Scott 19
    IT Angle


    Good to see some coomon sense for a change from a council, although it'll only take one jobs worth and this could get messy.

  25. Graham Wilson

    That'd be right: Old enough to kill or be killed but can't go to the pub. Democracy's Stuffed!!

    That'd be right: he's old enough to kill or be killed on behalf of his country yet not old enough to go into a pub.

    In the land down-under and source of most of the world's idiotic ideas such as Internet filters, we used the same moronic logic when we passed into law the conscription of 20-year-olds for the Vietnam War without giving them the right to vote. We expected young blokes to kill or be killed but they weren’t able to vote for the mongrels who landed them in that horrible and immoral war in the first place.

    I'm beginning to think Democracy is irredeemably stuffed (especially as it's practiced in English-speaking countries--UK, US, Oz etc.). Everywhere we look, we see examples of fucked rule-utilitarian law screwing us up. Just about every human activity we dream up the law then inextricably fucks seconds later. There's no getting away from it, no matter who's in power the democratic process continues to dish up a never-ending source of idiotic rules and this ID card issue is just the latest.

    If we could assign democracy with an IQ then it'd be permanently at room-temperature figures; for that’s the inevitable outcome of process. That's just how it is in democracies! Seems to me we'd be better off with an enlightened benevolent dictator; whether we liked his laws or not, a human being'd made them rather than them having evolved out of some sort of primordial democratic soup as they seem to do now.

    …And we actually have the temerity to expect the Iraqis and Afghanistanis to accept our Democracy as it is now! Seems they're smart and we've rocks in our heads.

    As Mark Twain's the ultimate master of the gift of the gab I'll let him sum up Democracy's woes for me:

    "Surely there is not another system of government that is so slipshod and systemless, and so slippery and elusive to the grasp as Democracy. One is washed about in it, hither and thither, in the most helpless way; and when at last he thinks he has captured a rule which offers firm ground to take a rest on amid the general rage and turmoil of millions of pages of rules and regulations and hundreds of years of legislation, he turns over the page and reads, "Let the pupil make careful note of the following EXCEPTIONS." He runs his eye down and finds that there are more exceptions to the rule than instances of it. So overboard he goes again, to hunt for another Ararat and find another quicksand. Such has been, and continues to be, my experience of the democratic process."

    (Apologies to 'The Tramp Abroad', Appendix D, 1880).

  26. Thomas Bottrill

    RE: Bloody silly

    As far as I understand, it IS the council's fault.

    The Licensing Act doesn't specify what is acceptable ID, and doesn't require you to ID people. It sounds as if the council have imposed conditions on the licence that they issue that restrict which forms of ID are acceptable, and possibly state who should be IDed.

  27. frank ly

    I can relax

    After reading all this, I'm so glad that I have grey hair and a receding hairline.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why businesses offer discounts

    Businesses don't offer discounts in order to be nice to people. They do it in order to maximise their profits. You offer a lower price to people who don't have much money because you get more sales that way. If there were such a thing as a "Poor Person's ID Card" you'd give discounts to people who had it. Since that doesn't exist, things like Student ID are used as a surrogate. (Some students are rich, and some non-students are poor, but on average students have less money than non-students.)

    In fact there's more to it than just how much money people have. There's also the question of how stingy they are and what alternatives they might have available to the business or service you are trying to sell to them. In particular, if your competitors are offering a discount to a certain group then you might have to, too.

  29. Mike Hanna

    Student discounts vs Forces Discounts

    No-one's mentioned Student Discounts in the same way as Forces Discounts, which I'm not so surprised at - chances are that a large number of us on these boards has benefitted from third level education, and therefore those student discounts have been had by many of us. The students! Won't anyone think of the students?! A poor student is more likely to move on to becoming a well paid professional, whereas a member of the Forces is more likely to go through a career with incremental pay increases until they retire at around 50 having fought their way up to a career woth £35k-£40k. And bear in mind that when deployed, you're working 24hours a day, seven days a week. It's not like you can clock off and not get hit by a mortar. I worked out that the lowest paid soldier who is deployed as soon as possible gets about £1.50 an hour. You don't actually get to the UK minimum wage limit until you reach the lofty heights of Warrant Officer Class 2 (A Sergeant Major) which normally takes about 17-20 years service. For the money they are on and the job they have to do, having a shop taking a hit on their profit margins is a small showing of appreciation.

    That lost profit wouldn't be passed on to other consumers - other consumers would get cheaper products in shops that didn't offer discounts if that were the case, and so the shop would get NO profit at all. Give some discount to certain consumers and those consumers would become repeat buyers from their outlets, they'd sell more stuff, profit targets attained! And in a shop why not haggle. There's normally a margin built in to most shops to allow discounts for most items.

    As for the arguement about the current operations they are involved in, and personal agreement with that or not, the point of the Army is to be there for our protection, putting their lives in danger for our safety. Your approval or otherwise of current operations does not negate that point, and the respect that should shown to those who put themselves in that position. It is to someone's detriment that they fail to realise this concept and have the attitude of "Well they took that job..." Whatever the reasons were for taking that job, they still took it for our collective benefit.

  30. Ball boy

    I think we're missing the point

    The purpose of the law in the UK is to offer protection *when it is required* (my emphisis). To wit: who's ever been in a 'lock-in'? Odds on, you were technically buying drinks after hours - the escape clause is that the publican will ring up the sale in the morning & so it's 'legal' (no after hours sale, M'lud).

    In practice, we all benefit from an Authority who can use discretion in their interpretation of these laws (noisy lock-in that's causing grief? They have the power to shut it down. Motorist that's doing 80 on a quiet M-way in clear weather: turn a blind eye). Without this discretion, we all lose many of our civil liberties.

    To the topic of the initial article: A military ID is available to 16 year olds as I remember - and someone this age isn't technically allowed to drink. Now, the original purpose of asking for ID was that the valid holder of such must be 18+ ('cause they're not available to anyone younger) but military service would cause a hicup in proceedings: our dear bouncer ^H^H^H^H^H door control officer has to subtract 16 years from today's date - not something I expect them to do with any great accuracy! Far better to instruct them like this: "Kevin, if you don't see an ID that has their photo on, don't tel 'em in'. Simple, binary rules for the doorman - and yet, it gives the publican room to move; if there's trouble, his neck is exposed (thus encouraging him to keep a tidy house). On the other hand, he has a pub half-full of squaddies and there's no trouble, the authorities simply won't care to examine the drinking age of the punters.

    To me, that's English law in action: you're only phucked if you're truely incapable of behaving reasonably.

    ....or if you have a bad silk - but that's another topic entirely ;-)

    1. Steven Jones

      Underage drinking

      "To the topic of the initial article: A military ID is available to 16 year olds as I remember - and someone this age isn't technically allowed to drink."

      Not quite - certainly no 16 year old is allowed to buy alcohol in a licensed premises, but there are conditions under which he/she can drink wine and beer (but not spirits). That is with a "table meal" (a packet of crisps won't count) and there must be an adult present.

      Note that the only absolute age limit on drinking in the UK is for those below the age of five (at least in England & Wales - Scotland may be different). In theory parents can give alcohol to children above that age, although one suspects that any family who allowed young children to get obviously intoxicated would come to the attention of social services and could lose custody if this was regular. They'd also be liable to various legal sanctions under various statutes involving the care of children.

  31. Anonymous Coward

    This is messed up

    The strange thing in this situation is that a driving licence is not an identity document but it is accepted as proof of identity

    The DVLA and the Secretary of state for transport will agree that a driving licence should not be accepted as a form of ID, so how can pubs be legally allowed to accept a document that isn't proof of identity?

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Alternative evidence of age

    A friend of mine, chubby-faced and clean shaven but a married man of 26 was challenged for proof of age in an off-license. It hadn't happened before and he was genuinely taken aback and at a loss for words.

    He'd not got any proof of age and struggling to think what might identify him as an adult, he stuttered out "But I've just fitted patio doors".

    That proved to be sufficient evidence and he got served.

  33. MattW

    They did him a favour

    The pub is a dive - he should be thanking them for a narrow escape.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ogre boys and their booze

    What comes around goes around, if they want to apologise in person, to the Royal Saracen's Head in Beaconsfield they should go, and who knows what could happen.

  35. andy gibson

    @ Supertim

    I wholeheartedly agree. People only go into Warrington to fight or pull slags. If the soldier really wanted a drink there are loads of places he could go without issue.

    Most Warringtonians invade my quiet trendy suburb of Stockton Heath - the women looking for a better class of bloke, the blokes looking for a better class of women, thus bringing that area down as well. So now we have to go elsewhere (not saying where though for fear of it being ruined!)

    1. Mike Hanna

      @Andy Gibson

      I can probably guess where you go... We had the same issue when I lived in Lymm - all the Partingtonians turned up there, the average tooth and IQ count was decimated, and we had to find somewhere else...

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