Judge hits out at 24-hour drinking

A judge has blasted 24-hour licensing laws after sentencing yet another yob for a late night drunken brawl.

Supermarkets have also been slammed this week for slashing the price of a pint to 40p ahead of the World Cup.

Judge Christopher Harvey Clark QC is calling for a review of 24-hour licensing laws after becoming frustrated at dealing with cases of drunken violence “almost on a daily basis”.


This latest case involved a 31-year-old former soldier from Bournemouth, who attacked his victim after he flicked a kebab in his face during a night out.

Judge Harvey Clark said: “Speaking as someone who has to deal with such violence, almost on a daily basis, there is far too much violence and drunkenness on the streets of Bournemouth late at night.

“It may, in part, be due to the relaxation of the licensing laws. I would hope that relaxation is reviewed in the foreseeable future.”


Since 2006 when the laws were relaxed, some 76 premises successfully applied to the borough council in Bournemouth for 24-hour licenses.

Of the 76 premises, 57 were pubs, bars, restaurants, hotels and social clubs. The remaining 19 are supermarkets or off-licenses.

Price war

Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury’s were criticised this week for slashing prices to sell 24 cans of top brand beers for as little as £9.

Doctors, the police and politicians from all parties have hit out at supermarkets for selling alcohol at below cost.

Dennis Griffiths, president of the Federation of Licensed Victuallers Associations, said: “It is not responsible, it is against everything the government stands for yet somehow they get away with it.”

And Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s Health Secretary, also criticised the promotions as “indefensible”.


Last month ex-Met Police chief Sir Ian Blair said the effects of Labour’s 24-hour drinking policy had been disastrous.

Sir Ian said he believed that the policy of all-day drinking was a “serious mistake”. Sir Ian, who left the Met Police in 2008, said the hoped for ‘café culture’ was never achievable for Britain and now our cities need to be saved from the chaos left behind.

Last year the Conservative Party leader David Cameron said the availability of cheap alcohol was fuelling crime, and that 24-hour drinking was making the problem worse.

Mr Cameron made the comments after joining police in Hull on a late night patrol to witness the effects of alcohol-related crime.

He blamed the Government’s 2003 Licensing Act for exacerbating the problem, and said “serious changes” were needed if the situation is to improve.

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