On-licence a licence to sell alcohol to people to consume alcohol on the premises

I saw somebody getting arrested. And if you will allow me the pun it was an arresting image.

Two police officers in luminous yellow jackets were leading this guy away from a shop. The arrestee, or I suppose the suspected criminal, held his hands flat against his body as though the handcuffs were weighing him down which, I suppose, they probably were.

Bizarrely enough just as I finished that last paragraph a young lady asked me to watch her bag for me. An odd moment and one that is lees usual these days. I often have to leave items out in public but I am generally of the opinion that drawing attention to your items as being worth watching is simply asking for trouble. I’m not exactly sure where this opinion came from and why I would not trust people to successfully watch my items on the one hand but also trust enough to leave my personal items out. It seems a little odd. The only answer I can give is that I really wonder how much the person watching is really going to do. Not too long ago I was in a off-licence* and I asked the assistant a question that required her to go into the back. While in the back another “customer” took three bottles of champagne and walked out of the shop. I thought about saying something to him but the risk associated with such an action seemed too great. Pure cowardice on my part. The moment he was out of there I called for the assistant. She came back and told me that a) it happened all the time, b) they weren’t supposed to do anything about it and c) she would have to make a note for the record.

My mind suddenly jumped to the popular John Woo movie “Broken Arrow”. A movie about the possibility that the people we trust with Nuclear capability might have different ideas for its use than our own. In the film, a character is told that “Broken Arrow” is a term they have for when Nuclear weapons go missing. The response goes “I don’t know what to be more disturbed about, the fact that a Nuclear missile has gone missing or the fact that you have a term for it.” This was the same thing on a smaller scale. I didn’t know whether to be more disturbed by the fact that I had just witnessed a theft or the fact that the staff were so used to it that they didn’t even raise an eyebrow. That they had a book with which to log such incidents.

I’ve seen some odd things in my time but there are certain things that strike a different sort of chord. It’s probably something to do with their formal nature, the fact that they all end up happening in the same way whether you are a millionaire or a pauper but in the end all arrest are the same. Maybe that’s what fascinates us? It’s hard to tell.

* There are three types of licence in the UK. And by licence I mean a licence to sell intoxicating beverages. But as it’s all defined in the “licensing act” if you see the word licence non-specifically talking about something it’s normally safe to assume it’s talking about alcohol. The three types are “off-licence” only licences to sell alcohol to people to consume off of the premises. “On-licence” a licence to sell alcohol to people to consume alcohol on the premises. And finally an “on and off licence” which incorporates both.

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