Report blames binge drinking culture for much crime and disorder

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Binge drinking culture, Drinking culture, Alcoholic beverage

Licensees should be made liable for injury caused by customers who have drunk too much in their pubs, according to a report by anti-crime charity...

Licensees should be made liable for injury caused by customers who have drunk too much in their pubs, according to a report by anti-crime charity Nacro.

The Drink and Disorder: Alcohol, Crime and Anti-Social Behaviour report argues that alcohol is a significant factor in crime and disorder, particularly in town centres, and places the blame on Britain's binge drinking culture.

It suggests reducing incentives that make customers drink more alcohol, more quickly, including banning pubs from holding happy hours and other drinks promotions, as well as increasing a licensee's responsibility to curb excessive drinking among customers.

Although the charity admits it is difficult to demonstrate that alcohol alone causes crime, the report says there is significant evidence that alcohol is a contributory factor in many instances of crime.

Marcus Roberts, Nacro's policy manager and the co-author of the report, said: "There is no doubt there is a binge drinking culture in the UK, particularly among young men, and that patterns of sporadic drinking leading to acute intoxication are more strongly associated with violence than frequent but moderate drinking."

Relaxing the licensing laws is one suggestion the report supports to end Britain's binge drinking culture, while others include strengthening the law so licensees can be responsible for injury or damage caused by a customer who has been served too much alcohol, a government approved proof-of-age card, lowering the price of soft drinks and restricting drinks promotions.

The report says: "The practice of having happy hours and other promotions which encourage the rapid consumption of cut-price drinks is a cause for concern. Consideration should be given to restricting or possibly prohibiting happy hours."

It also recommends wider use of Pubwatch schemes, making toughened glass obligatory in pubs and designing pubs to minimise the chances of violence - for example trouble is more likely to happen if customers have to push past people to get to the toilet.

But the report also points out that alcohol is a "highly valued - and in many respects positive - aspect of our culture".

Dr Roberts said: "Alcohol enjoys a very special status in our society. Many people would feel that their lives would be poorer without it. If we are serious about reducing crime we need to give thought to how we can create a more responsible drinking culture. It's not about prohibition, it's about planning."

Related topics: Licensing law

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