Health: Pub hours 'do not affect violence'

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The Independent Online
Curbing pub drinking makes no difference to levels of alcohol-related violence, the results of a study suggested yesterday. Researchers compared the number of drink-related casualties dealt with at a hospital casualty department in Edinburgh before and after licensing restrictions were introduced.

Almost 3,000 breath samples were obtained, one-third of which tested positive for alcohol. A total of 42 per cent of people attending the accident and emergency department said they had drunk alcohol in a pub or restaurant. Of all the A&E attendances between midnight and 4am, one in five comprised assault cases and 67 per cent tested positive for alcohol.

But these patterns remained the same through out the study period, whether they were before the licensing restrictions or after.

Uniform closing times were introduced at Edinburgh's 677 pubs and restaurants with public house licenses in Mach 1996. Pubs, hotels and restaurants were obliged to close by 1am, clubs by 3am and casinos by 4am.