MP and top cop in call for police levy

Related tags City centre pubs Metropolitan police service

Pressure for the trade to pay for policing mounted this week as a senior MP and a leading police chief said pubs should be forced to help stamp out...

Pressure for the trade to pay for policing mounted this week as a senior MP and a leading police chief said pubs should be forced to help stamp out drink-related violence.​ Former Home Office minister John Denham said city centre pubs should be forced to pay a levy of 5p to 10p a customer to pay for the costs of policing.

The minister, who is chairman of the Commons home affairs select committee, told the Institute of Licensing Conference in Blackpool that binge-drinking had become an increasing problem. He said: "Business activities that, by their nature, give rise to certain types of crime should make a greater contribution towards the costs of policing. In practice, competition means that a levy would largely be absorbed by the pub companies."

In an interview in the Financial Times last week Ian Blair, the Metropolitan Police commissioner designate, said there was a pressing need for the industry to take a tougher line on dealing with the issues of alcohol-related violence in city centres.

He said: "That could take the form of a levy on big drinking establishments to pay for policing consequences they generated. The industry has to get its act together."

Members of the trade have reacted angrily to the suggestion that pubs should pay more for policing.

Licensee Danny Scott, of Rick's Bar in Greenwich, said: "We pay our business rates so why should we pay again? It seems that any trouble is related back to pubs. We get the blame for all the ills of the world. It's just another indirect tax."

Christine Milburn, spokeswoman for the British Beer & Pub Association, said: "This year the government will spend £10bn in total on all policing.

"In comparison, the drinks industry will hand over to the government more than £21bn in taxes alone. So we are currently paying £11bn more per year than the total police budget."

Related topics Licensing law

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