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Bill Cash MP seeks action to tackle problems of alcohol-related violence and yob behaviour

Press release 24/08/09       

Today, MP for Stone, Bill Cash added his voice to calls for action to take tough action against the uncontrolled spread in binge-drinking.
The latest Home Office crime figures have revealed that across Newcastle-under-Lyme there were 2,162 violent attacks against individuals last year – based on Government surveys of crime victims, this suggests that 1,016 of these attacks could have been alcohol-related. Across Staffordshire Moorlands there were 1,264 violent attacks against individuals last year – based on Government surveys, this suggests that 594 of these attacks could have been alcohol-related. And across Stafford there were 2,009 violent attacks against individuals last year and based on Government surveys, this suggests that 944 of these attacks could have been alcohol-related. Cash said “These incidents are of grave concern and it is a real threat to my constituents.”
There is growing concern about the overlapping problems of late night drinking, fast food outlets selling alcohol at night; under-age drinking; the easy availability of high-strength alcohol; and retailers like supermarkets selling alcohol below cost-price. The licensing laws which came into effect in 2005 have created a presumption in favour of alcohol licences being given out, and imposed tight restrictions on who can object to any licensing application.
The Police Federation has warned that the need to police town centres around the clock is making it harder to answer emergency calls elsewhere.
  • Massive expansion in late night premises: Nationally, four-fifths of pubs, bars and clubs now close after 11pm, at least part of the week. One in five of all pubs, bars and clubs are open beyond 1am. By contrast, under the old licensing, regime, 80 per cent of pubs, public bars and night-clubs closed by 11pm (DCMS, Licensing Key Statistics, November 2006).
  • Fast food outlets also fuelling nuisance: After the second full year of the new licensing laws, over 76,800 fast food premises are now licensed into open into the early hours. The so-called ‘late night refreshment’ outlets can open as late at 5am. Such outlets are often magnets for post-pub/post-club anti-social behaviour. Large numbers of intoxicated customers gather at places into the early hours, creating nuisance and disturbance for local residents. Many are licensed to sell alcohol into the early hours.
  • Alcohol-related violent attacks: Last year, there were 973,000 violent attacks where the offender was under the influence of alcohol, equivalent to nearly half of all violent incidents; 57 per cent of all assaults with minor injuries are alcohol-related (Home Office, Crime in England and Wales 2008-09, July 2009).
  • More crime in the early hours: The Home Office’s own review of the new licensing laws show rising levels of criminal damage under the new licensing laws: ‘Substantial increases occurred in all evening and night-time hour periods from 9pm… The number of offences happening between 3am and 6am were consistently higher in each of the four three-monthly periods after the introduction of the Act compared with the equivalent periods in the previous year… The peak hours of criminal damage offending during the evening and night-time were between 6pm and 1am.’ The study noted a 22 per cent increase in all offences committed between 3am and 6am (Home Office, Violent Crime, Disorder and Criminal Damage since the introduction of the Licensing Act 2003, July 2007, p.12-13).
  • Increased pressure on the police: The shifting of such crime to the early hours has increased the pressure on the police to man town centres around the clock, diverting resources from neighbourhood police in suburban areas. The Police Federation has warned: ‘All too frequently our members cannot attend to emergency calls because they are tied up with intervening in pub fights or drunken street brawls’ (Police Federation, Consultation Response to the Culture, Media & Sport Committee Inquiry: Licensing Act 2003, 30 September 2008, p.2).
  • Alcohol misuse rising: Since 1997, the number of alcohol-related deaths has increased by 47 per cent (Office of National Statistics, Alcohol-related deaths, 25 January 2008).  The number of under-18s hospitalised for alcohol misuse has increased by nearly 40 per cent since 2002-03 to 12,388 in 2007-08. The number of adults hospitalised for alcohol misuse has increased by 80 per cent to 194,050 over the same period (Hansard, 1 July 2009, col. 332W). 

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