London crime continues to drop following Licensing Act

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Related tags: New licensing regime, London, City of london, West end of london

Alcohol-related crime in London's West End is continuing to fall since the new licensing regime came into place in 2005. New figures from Westminster...

Alcohol-related crime in London's West End is continuing to fall since the new licensing regime came into place in 2005.

New figures from Westminster City Council show alcohol-related crimes have fallen by an average of 63 incidents a month since the introduction of the Licensing Act, bringing the monthly average figure to 1,346 offences.

Violent crimes have been falling consistently every year since 2005 with a 21.1 per cent fall between 8pm and midnight and a 14.2 per cent reduction between midnight and 4am.

However offences that do happen are now happening later at night - with the report for the council's Crime and Disorder Policy and Scrutiny Committee concluding there are now more alcohol-related crimes taking place every hour between 11pm and 6am when compared with figures taken before the Act.

Cllr Tony Devenish, the committee chairman, said: "Westminster's tough licensing policies and close work with the police mean that despite the introduction of 24-hour drinking, we have managed to control and even reduce the amount of crime on the streets of central London.

"We have not given pubs and clubs carte blanche to open 24 hours a day - as the Government encouraged us to do - because of the inevitable impact this would have on our local communities."

But Devenish hit out at the fact it could no longer set its own licence fees following the Act.

"We now recoup a paltry £1.5million of our annual £5million costs to implement and enforce our licensing rules from the pubs and clubs concerned.

"The government knows local authorities - and ultimately council taxpayers - are picking up the bill because of the way fees are now set nationally but it is apparently refusing to do anything about it."

Westminster has several innovative schemes underway to tackle alcohol-related problems including a joint Safer Night campaign in Leicester Square with the Metropolitan Police Service to highlight safe public transport routes home and encourage revellers to use them.

Related topics: Licensing law

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