Tony Hogg hits back at licensing report
Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Hogg has reacted strongly to a published report which claims that 24 hour licensing has had no negative impact on society.
He says the report, by the Institute of Economic Affairs*, is one-dimensional and ignores the huge strain that 24-hour licensing places on the emergency services.
Mr Hogg, who chairs the national PCC alcohol group, said: “I am disappointed to see the one-dimensional report published today by the Institute of Economic Affairs on 24 hour licensing.
“Any evaluation of 24-licensing must consider the true impact that 24 hour drinking has had on our society, our economy and on our public services. Only then can we have a mature and sensible debate about this topic.
“The move to 24 hour drinking has not been overwhelmingly positive as the IEA seems to suggest.
“While overall crime levels and consumption may be falling – there is no evidence to suggest that this is a result of 24 licensing.
“We must also recognise the link between 24 hour licensing and pre-loading – young people heading for a night on the town after spending several hours drinking cheap, shop bought alcohol safe in the knowledge they can party until dawn.
“We can no longer ignore the huge strain being placed on our emergency services.
“When police officers are babysitting drunks in town centres up and down the country until 5am or 6am they have less time to police local neighbourhoods and keep our communities safe.
“In March the University of Bath’s Institute of Policy Research published a report which stated clearly – as a direct result of binge drinking there are 30 per cent more police on duty every weekend – an extra 3.2 officers per 10,000 population.
“Just think what else those officer’s could be doing. The impact is significant, it is not fair on the wider public and it is simply not sustainable as police budgets continue to tighten.”
“PCCs up and down the country are working locally to tackle alcohol harm in their areas and through the National PCC Alcohol Working Group we are working together nationally to reduce the cost to society of alcohol related harm by changing attitudes, deterring offenders and tackling irresponsible supply.
“As PCCs we intend to commission our own research on the true impact of 24 hour licensing – looking at its impact on society, on the economy and on our public service – to properly inform the debate on this important issue.
*From the IEA’s website: The IEA’s mission is that society's problems and challenges are best dealt with by individuals, companies and voluntary associations interacting with each other freely without interference from politicians and the state. This means that government action, whether through taxes, regulation or the legal system, should be kept to a minimum.