Letter from Thames Valley Police|
I have canvassed the views of the Licensing officers
who represent the ten police areas within the Thames Valley. This
response to your Consultation Paper, dated April 1999, is worded
in accordance with their replies.
In policing terms, Friday and Saturday evenings are
the busiest within the weekly cycle. Increases in Crime and Disorder
of around 15% are being recorded as our police areas witness the
large influx of revellers into their town centres where the main
attractions are linked to alcohol.
Sundays provide the only buffer in the week when
there is a serious restriction on the consumption of alcohol and
a noticeable decrease, of over 50%, in daily recorded crime and
At a time when governments across Europe are considering
strategies to reduce alcohol consumption, we are seeing our consumption,
per head of population, rising to 7.6 litres of pure alcohol per
annum. (9.4 litres for those aged 15 and over)
Young men and women in the UK are amongst the heaviest
drinkers in Europe according to a new survey of trends in nine
countries including the United States and eight from Western Europe.
The 18-24 year olds consuming on average 15.6 units per week,
secondly only to Germany who consume an average of 20.3 units
per week. With research showing continual growth in consumption,
these figures are good for the drinks industry but the outlook
for crime reduction partnerships is gloomy.
It begs the question "Who will benefit from
this and future deregulation?"
As already identified in paragraph 22 of the consultation
document, 'Concerns have been expressed about the effect on residents
and others who have to go to work on Monday morning'.
Unlike excess consumption on Friday and Saturday
nights, when those who over indulge have the opportunity to sleep
it off, Monday is a normal working day. As such, will we begin
to see a rise in absenteeism and alcohol related accidents both
on the roads and in the workplace, with the knock-on effects being
felt by industry and commerce?
At present, Public Entertainment Licences often extend
well beyond the end of liquor licensing hours. We anticipate that,
once granted, a large number of outlets will be looking to end
their operations on Sundays at 2am or later and so the protection
that the government is trying to build in will be lost.
With policing strategies failing to cope with the
burden of increased crime and disorder levels on Friday and Saturday
nights, is there any logic in turning Sundays, which you describe
as having a 'special nature', into another day when we see crime
and disorder soaring at peak times?
Alan Penton, Sergeant, Community Safety & Licensing
23 August 1999