Publicans urged to ban habitual drunkards in anti-violence drive

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Pubs owners and local authorities are being urged to ban more drunken troublemakers from bars and clubs as part of an anti-violence initiative in town centres.

Beer bottles should also be barred from pubs and clubs were violence is commonplace and greater use made of laws to outlaw underage drinking in public.

The Home Office wants action to reduce the estimated 13,000 violent incidents that take place in and around pubs in Britain every week. George Howarth, the Home Office minister, yesterday called on publicans, magistrates and local councils to work closely with the police to improve safety.

The city of York was highlighted as a good example of how to tackle drunken louts. Using the Inebriates Act 1898, and the Licensing Act 1902, the police have banned habitual drunks from the city's pubs. Anyone who commits three drinking offences can be banned for three years. The offender's photograph is circulated to all pubs. Glass-makers have also pledged to bring in new toughened products that will not splinter causing horrific facial injuries.

Speaking to a Crime Concern Conference in London, Mr Howarth cited research from the 1996 British Crime Survey suggesting that about one in six violent incidents in England and Wales take place in or near pubs. He said: "I want our towns and cities to be safe for everyone to enjoy. Partnership is the key to reclaiming the social and commercial hearts of our communities from the drunken yobs who have made them no-go areas."