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Violence down after English drink law change

Crime rate fell by 11 per cent since changes were made to the licensing law last November which saw the end of the 11 pm closing time for pubs.

india Updated: Feb 08, 2006 20:16 IST
Reuters
Reuters
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Violent crime in England and Wales fell by 11 per cent at the end of last year amid a blitz by police on alcohol-related offences and despite a predicted surge following the introduction of extended drinking laws.

The Home Office said as well in the fall in violent crime, serious violence also dropped 21 per cent in the last three months of 2005 compared with the same period the previous year.

The figures included a six-week period starting in November when police targeted alcohol-related crime through a 2.5 million pound government scheme.

They also include the period since changes were made to the licensing law at the end of November which saw the end of the 11 pm closing time observed by most pubs since World War I.

Much of the media had predicted the new law would fuel binge-drinking "anarchy" on Britain's streets and other booze-related crime problems.

"What we have found with alcohol-fuelled disorder is some levels remained the same or some have been quieter," a Home Office spokeswoman said.

"It was a quieter Christmas and New Year than normal."

Police said it would take longer to fully assess the impact of the extended drinking hours but the government said the figures were encouraging.

"The predictions that licensing reform would lead to an immediate upsurge in crime haven't been born out," Licensing Minister James Purnell told the Independent newspaper.

"It was always our argument that by getting rid of the 11 pm closing time you would get rid of a number of flashpoints."

First Published: Feb 08, 2006 20:16 IST