Trouble on our streets
The Government’s laws on 24-hour drinking have been condemned by police and alcohol awareness groups, as new figures show that police forces are dealing with thousands of extra alcohol-related crimes each month, following the relaxation of pub and club opening hours.
The new figures contradict the Government’s view, which concluded that police do not face additional drink-fuelled trouble on the streets. However, an investigation has uncovered widespread evidence that many forces have experienced a large increase in incidents since the law change in November 2005.
The Daily Telegraph used the Freedom of Information Act to ask all 43 forces in England and Wales for details of alcohol-related incidents, as well as assaults, harassment and criminal damage crimes over the past two years.
In the 12 forces that kept details of alcohol-related, anti-social incidents, there was an overall increase of 4300 or 46% to 13,500 a month. If this rise was repeated across England and Wales, it would amount to an extra 180,000 crimes every year. In addition, 16 forces reported a 5% increase in alcohol-related assaults, harassment and criminal damage crimes.
A spokesman for Alcohol Concern said the legislation was ‘dangerously tilted towards the needs of the drinks industry with licensees holding virtually every card during the review and appeals process’.