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Guidance

Guidance to licensing authorities

Our guidance for licensing authorities.

Contents


3 - Powers of entry – England and Wales

36.13 The Act states that authorised persons, constables and enforcement officers may:

  • undertake activities for the purpose of assessing compliance with provisions made under the Act or to assess whether an offence is being committed under the Act, by virtue of s.305. This is a general power and so it is unlikely that an authorised person can gain entry under s.305 alone. It should be read in conjunction with the sections of the Act that follow it and set out specific powers
  • enter premises if they reasonably suspect that facilities for gambling are being, are about to be, or have been provided on the premises. This would include a private club but does not apply if the suspected gambling is private or non-commercial gaming or betting (s.307). If in doubt, a licensing authority should seek legal advice about also securing a warrant issued by a justice of the peace
  • enter a premises in respect of which an application has been made for a family entertainment centre (FEC) gaming permit, for a purpose connected with the consideration of the application, or to enter a premises in respect of which a FEC gaming machine permit has effect, in order to determine compliance with gaming machine permit requirements (s.309)
  • enter premises in respect of which an on-premises alcohol licence has effect for the purpose of determining if any gaming that is taking place satisfies the conditions for exempt gaming in s.279 of the Act, to ascertain that any bingo taking place meets the requirements of the Act, or to ascertain the number and category of gaming machines being made available for use on the premises (s.310)
  • enter premises in respect of which an application has been made for a prize gaming permit, for a purpose connected with the consideration of the application, or to enter a premises in respect of which a prize gaming permit has effect in order to determine whether prize gaming on the premises complies with the requirements of the Act and regulations under it (s.311).

36.14 Where an application for a club gaming permit or club machine permit has been made, authorised persons, constables and enforcement officers may also enter a members’ club, a commercial club or miners’ welfare institute under s.312 of the Act, for a purpose connected with consideration of the application, to:

  • determine whether gaming is taking place on the premises or is about to take place on the premises
  • or to determine whether any gaming that is taking place or is about to take place on the premises meets the requirements for exempt gaming in section 269 of the Act, a club gaming permit or a club machine permit.

It should be noted that only police officers and enforcement officers can enter the premises that have been granted a permit to determine if the things being done are in accordance with that permit (and not primarily because they suspect a crime is taking place/has taken place). Therefore, if an authorised person was to accompany a police officer or enforcement officer (under s.324, see below), they would not then be able to exercise any powers whilst on the premises such as the seizure of evidence.

36.15 Under s.318 of the Act a constable, enforcement officer or authorised person can only enter a dwelling under a warrant issued by a justice of the peace.

36.16 S.324 of the Act allows a constable, enforcement officer, or authorised person who is exercising a power under Part 15 of the Act, to take one or more persons with him. It should be noted that the Act would not permit an authorised person to exercise any powers on premises such as the seizure of evidence, unless they had entered under a power of entry under the Act that is applicable to their status as an authorised person. This section of the Act seeks to provide access to premises for those assisting a constable, enforcement officer or authorised person in carrying out duties, such as photographers, forensic examiners and note takers.

36.17 Further detail about powers of entry and inspection are set out in Appendix F.

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Enforcement officers and authorised persons
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Powers of entry in Scotland
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