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Jenny McCallum

Retired Licensing Officer

Our members are mostly licensees, running their own businesses - but not all of them. Retired BII member, Jenny Callum, gave us an insight into how her role as a Licensing Officer brought her into contact with the the pub trade.

How long were you a licensing officer for the Essex police and what attracted you to the job?

I worked for Essex Police for 17 years as a Divisional Licensing Officer, covering mainly Harlow in Essex but also Brentwood and Epping Forest Area when required.  I was attracted to the job after working for Local Authority in Epping for some 20 years and needed a fresh challenge.


My portfolio of licensed premises, inclusive of gambling establishments was approximately 300, but this changed on a daily basis. New applications from restaurants, pubs and convenience stores would come in all the time, so the list kept creeping up.


Tell us a bit about what a normal day as a licensing officer entailed and how a licensing officer comes to interact with licensees/pubs.

No two days were the same. The priority of your diary was dealing with daily applications or intelligence coming through to the Police via Licensees and the public, and following through on that.  As a Licensing Officer, you are the go-between for the Council and your Licensees, and I would complete all my own admin, phone calls etc after visits to premises. We would discuss Pub Watch, run site checks on Designated Premise Supervisor changes to ensure they were responsible persons and I would have daily meetings with my Community Policing Team.


In your role, were there any particular challenges you noticed licensees facing?

The main challenges for all the Licensees whether in a Pub, Club, Restaurant or Convenience Store was the drug element which they tried to monitor on a daily basis.   We ran Drugs Dogs Operations within the Clubs and Pubs which were a deterrent, generally every few weeks when resources were available, but it was definitely the biggest problem they faced.


Were there any common misconceptions people had about your job as a licensing officer?

Not really as most people knew I was only there to assist my licensees in every aspect of their job. We exist to keep them and and keep their premises safe. Essentially, a licensing officer’s role is to ensure that the Licensing Objectives are upheld:

All licence applications must comply with four licensing objectives:

·         The prevention of crime and disorder

·         Public safety

·         The prevention of public nuisance

·         The protection of children from harm

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