Police fail on booze violence, say public

Three quarters of the population say the police are not dealing with crime and anti-social behaviour in their communities.

Almost one in three people said drug dealing was a big problem in their area and nearly as many felt the same about drunkenness.

But only 26 per cent felt that the police and other local services were dealing with these issues.

The figures come in a new survey conducted by local councils to find out how they are perceived by residents in their districts.

Local Government Secretary John Denham claimed there had been improvements in local services but that these were “not being reflected in people’s perception of their council”.

“I want to see local councils do more – and gain more power – to shape the services offered in their area”, he said.

Last year it was reported that local authorities themselves felt they were struggling to cope with levels of alcohol-related violence which had increased since the introduction of 24-hour drinking with the 2003 Licensing Act.

Half of police authorities said that far from creating the promised continental-style café culture in the UK, the new laws had simply pushed alcohol-related violence later into the evening.

Seven in ten police authorities, Primary Care Trusts and councils said that 24-hour drinking had either increased or made no difference to alcohol-related incidents.

And councils said that £100 million in taxpayers’ money had been paid out to implement the changes.

Sir Simon Milton, Chairman of the Local Government Association, said at the time: “The new system was burdened with exaggerated expectations as it was never a single solution to alcohol-related disorder.

“There needs to be a wide-ranging national debate about how freely available alcohol is, how the nation views social drinking and how we can go about reducing consumption.

“It seems that we have a deep-rooted social and cultural problem in this country in the way that we view alcohol that cannot be addressed by one simple piece of legislation. It will take years, possibly decades of concerted action across the board.”

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