Rising cost of alcohol could explain drop in serious violence rates, new research reveals

By James Wallin

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Local authorities Violence Drinking culture

The decline in alcohol consumption could have had an effect on levels of violence across the country
The decline in alcohol consumption could have had an effect on levels of violence across the country
Falling alcohol consumption and rising costs may have contributed to a decline in violence across England and Wales, new research has suggested.

The Violence and Society Research Group at Cardiff University said a drop in binge drinking could help explain the drop in levels of serious violence across the country.

The university’s research shows in 2013 there were 234,509 people who required hospital treatment as a result of violence – 32,780 fewer than in 2012. It shows a sustained fall in levels of serious violence in every year since 2001, apart from a 7% rise in 2008.

A report on the findings said while it was not possible to pinpoint a single cause it was likely that drinking habits had played a part.

It read: “Since 2008, affordability of alcohol has decreased, the real price of alcohol in both the on-trade and off-trade has increased and UK alcohol consumption levels have decreased from 10.8 (in 2008) to 10 litres per capita (in 2011). These factors may partly explain the falls in serious violence in England and Wales.”

Other factors cited in the report included changes to unemployment, poverty and projects aimed at preventing violence.

Henry Ashworth, chief executive of drinks industry watchdog The Portman Group, said:  “We welcome the sustained fall in alcohol related violence over more than a decade. Hard work by local partnerships between local authorities, police, drinks businesses and community groups is proving most effective at both growing night time economies and reducing harms.

“For those local communities that still suffer disproportionately from antisocial behaviour we would urge them to embrace this partnership working.”

Kate Nicholls, strategic affairs director at the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers, said: “We are pleased to see a continuing decline in instances of violence across England and Wales, particularly a fall in the levels of antisocial behaviour and public drunkenness.

“Pubs and clubs have played their part through investment in staff and premises and through responsible retailing. Our town centres are safer, more enjoyable places to enjoy an evening out and the figures validate this.”

Nicholls added: “The report makes some valuable points about the positive impacts of information-sharing and partnership between retailers and local authorities, police and health services.

“We would like to see local authorities recognising the good work being done right across the sector and more being done to encourage partnership and voluntary schemes.

“Working with licensed hospitality, rather than against, is the best way to facilitate further reductions in crime and ensure our town centres remain safe and enjoyable.”

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