Letter: Pub hours peril

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The Independent Culture
Pub hours peril

Sir: I am continually amazed when reminded that Mr Allan Charlesworth, Chairman of the Association of Chief Police Officers Liquor Licensing Committee, is still calling for pubs to be permitted to stay open for 24 hours a day ("Alcohol fuels rocketing violence in York", 23 November). The reason given is that this will reduce the incidence of drunken violence at closing time.

The all-too-obvious problem with this recommendation is that it focuses on only one aspect of a far more pervasive problem. Were Mr Charlesworth and his colleagues to look beyond their narrow remit, they would quickly realise that there is growing anxiety about the health implications for Britain of increasing consumption of alcohol.

Indeed, The Nation's Health, a Strategy for the 1990s calls for a clearly defined long-term strategy for the reduction of alcohol consumption.

If this is not enough for Mr Charlesworth and colleagues, alcohol consumption is also implicated in 14 per cent of road accidents, crime, drugs and domestic violence, all issues of current concern and of more than passing interest to others of their colleagues in the police force.

It is increasingly hard to fathom why anyone, let alone the police Liquor Licensing Committee, would be promoting greater access to alcohol.

Professor DAVID J BALL