Police have warned that 24-hour drinking laws have led to a marked increase in violent crime in towns and cities across the country.
The Police Superintendents’ Association (PSA) told a House of Lords committee that the relaxation of licensing laws in 2003 had led to a large increase in alcohol-related incidents in the early hours of the day.
Baroness McIntosh of Pickering, chairman of the Licensing Act 2003 Committee, described the Act as “fundamentally flawed” and called for a “major overhaul”.
Earlier this month, the committee published a report on the 2003 Act. The report noted there had been a “startling” rise in alcohol-related admissions to hospital, which have nearly doubled over the past decade to 1.1million.
It also called for licensing laws to be introduced in airports to combat the consumption of alcohol 24 hours a day without restrictions.
In its evidence for the committee, the PSA highlighted that a fifth of all recorded crime in Manchester between the hours of 3am and 6am is alcohol-related. It was 8 per cent when the Licensing Act 2003 was introduced.
When asked about an increase in violence, Gavin Thomas, President of the PSA, said there had been a “stark rise” from 8 per cent in 2003 to 21 per cent now for Manchester.
Last year, a study found that the introduction of 24-hour drinking has led to an increase in heavy alcohol consumption.
Analysis of official health data by researchers at Lancaster University found that the likelihood of people ‘binge drinking’ had increased significantly since the extension of licensing hours.
The study, presented to the Royal Economic Society, analysed data from 2003 and 2009, before and after the changes came into place.
Following the changes, pubs and clubs were able to apply to stay open until 5am.