Sunday, September 16, 2007

 

Manchester Alcohol Related Crime Figures Show 24 hour Drinking has not Worked

I was not the only person to worry about the 24 hour opening allowed pubs at the end of 2005. I even broached the subject with my local MP, Anne Coffey, but she 'reassured' me all was well because the police had been granted more extensive powers to deal with any possible fallout. Apart from the fact that this approach waits for the crime to be committed, rather than preventing it, I just wondered at the sanity of making booze more freely available in a country suffering an epidemic of binge drinking.

Initial research results suggested nothing had happened to crime figures but, now that sufficient time has passed, we learn that in Manchester alcohol related crime has 'rocketed' since the law was changed. In the 12 months up to December 2005, a month after the 24 hour Licensing Act changes, there were 1,292 offences but in the following 12 months the figure was, 1,741, an almost 50% increase.

80% of hospital visits at the weekend, are 'directly related to alcohol', attests Mr Stuart, a consultant at MRI, adding that cases which used to tail off at 2 or 3 am now continue 'through the night'. In his efforts to appeal to more right-wing voters Gordon Brown has promised a review of the license extensions. It is to be hoped this review is no mere cosmetic exercise and that residential areas, worried by gangs of youngsters, often well below 18, binging in on streets corners and in green open spaces, are fully consulted.

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