Zero tolerance call on bingers

Related tags Metropolitan police service

by Andrew Pring Drinks industry executives have called for a zero tolerance approach to drunkenness and an end to aggressive drinks promotions in...

by Andrew Pring

Drinks industry executives have called for a zero tolerance approach to drunkenness and an end to aggressive drinks promotions in both the on and off-trade.

Speaking at the Martin Information Retail Issues 2004 conference this week, Interbrew UK Regional President Steve Cahillane urged the trade to adopt the tactics of former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani and show zero tolerance to retailers and producers who flout social responsibility guidelines.

David Williams, chief executive of Threshers, said supermarkets are fuelling the problem of binge drinking. "Selling drink below cost as they do is irresponsible, and will create a real problem with Government."

Bob Senior, chief executive of Ultimate Leisure, said the trade is incapable of self-policing.

"Minimum pricing schemes such as in Perth are necessary if we're to stop the price hysteria that some operators have introduced. There are just too many egos in our trade, and they're still defending indefensible price

promotions. If we're to get rid off all that, change has to be imposed on us. And I think duty should be raised to make drinks more expensive." Senior said he is also in favour of paid-for-policing ­ "because it works."

Describing Ultimate's operations in Newcastle's Bigg Market district, Senior said he has been paying £1,000 a week to secure a police presence around his bars and clubs.

"It's been very successful. I think we should all contribute to policing, but none of the other bars in the area want to help."

Senior was backed by John Grogan, MP, who said the trade should consider ways to help finance late-night policing. The British Beer and Pub Association remains firmly opposed to the policy.

Met police warning over extra drinking hours

by Tony Halstead

Extra drinking hours set to arrive in summer 2005 will fuel a rise in violent crime and disorder on town and city centre streets, according to a Metropolitan Police report. The report by the Met's Clubs & Vice Operational Command Unit predicts extra hours will also mean more drink-driving, a boom in illegal taxis, a growth in street vendors operating in the black economy and greater disturbance to residents.

The Met claims varied closing hours will encourage people to go out later and force police to patrol trouble spots throughout the night.

But Jon Collins, chief executive of the Bar Entertainment & Dance Association, said the report highlights the need for the pub and club operators to enter into partnership arrangements with the police and local authorities well before the new Licensing Act takes effect.

"If pub and bar premises do not show a responsible attitude then we will undoubtedly see local authorities take punitive action by restricting late drinking hours and clamping down on the number of new licences."

The Westminster Licensees Association, which represents a range of different bar operators and leisure companies around the West End and Covent Garden area of London, said it was easy to link extra drinking hours with increased disorder.

"We had similar predictions before all-day pub opening and extra Sunday hours were introduced but nothing happened," said WLA spokesperson Kate Nicholls.

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