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24-hour drink fuels “massive” crime problem says Cameron (from


24-hour drink fuels ‘massive’
crime problem says Cameron

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Conservative Party leader David Cameron has said the availability of cheap alcohol is fuelling crime, and that 24-hour drinking is making the problem worse.

Mr Cameron made the comments after joining police in Hull on a late night patrol to witness the effects of alcohol-related crime.

He blamed the Government’s 2003 Licensing Act for exacerbating the problem, and said “serious changes” were needed if the situation is to improve.

“Drink-related violence and drink-related crime are a massive problem in our country,” he said.

“We need to look at the unbelievable availability of very cheap drink, getting three litres of cider for £1.99, at all hours of day and night.

“We’ve got to do something about this and I’m exploring what we can do to deal with the drink that’s fuelling so much of the crime in our country.”

When the Licensing Act 2003 introduced 24-hour drinking the Government promised it would foster a continental-style café culture.

But police chiefs say the change simply forced alcohol-related incidents further back into the early hours of the morning.

In the first three years after the law came into force public order offences rose by 136 per cent.

Last year a survey by the Local Government Association found that seven in ten police authorities, Primary Care Trusts and councils said 24-hour drinking had increased or failed to change levels of alcohol-related incidents.

The Government has defended the Licensing Act, claiming that it has not led to increased crime and disorder.

But Mr Cameron’s Conservative Party accuse them of being “in denial” about the law’s impact.

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