Met police chief in warning over 24-hour drinking

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The Independent Online

The move towards a 24-hour drinking culture in Britain needs to be slowed down, retiring Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir John Stevens said yesterday. He warned the shift ignored the culture of binge drinking in Britain and would place further strain on police resources.

The move towards a 24-hour drinking culture in Britain needs to be slowed down, retiring Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir John Stevens said yesterday. He warned the shift ignored the culture of binge drinking in Britain and would place further strain on police resources.

His comments put him on a collision course with the Government over proposals to relax licensing laws in a bid to introduce a continental-style drinking culture.

He told the BBC: "There has been a deterioration with how people behave on the streets. You can see excessive drinking in extraordinary amounts on a Friday or Saturday night. That's one of the reasons I think that assaults against the police have gone up.

"The move towards 24-hour drinking needs to be slowed down. The fact that large groups of people will be coming out at 3am or 4am will mean that we have to man up the streets to deliver a service to ensure these people behave."

Sir John also backed Tory plans to boost protection for householders who defend themselves against intruders.

"There needs to be a presumption of innocence in relation to a person who is defending his house, his loved one or themselves, and it's as simple as that," he said.