Police warn over rising numbers of off-licences

Rising numbers of off-licences on estates are making it harder for police to control residential areas, the Scotland Yard Commissioner warned yesterday.

Bernard Hogan-Howe said holding a licence to sell alcohol was a privilege and those who abused that should lose their powers.

His warning came after a study for Alcohol Concern last year linked the number of off-licence premises in an area to the number of under-age drinkers admitted to hospital for alcohol-related problems.

Mr Hogan-Howe said: "Not so much in the night-time economy – in the city centre and the town centres we've got – but in the estates, the multiplication of off-licences over the years has led to less control.... We want to keep it a safe environment."

Speaking to the first meeting of the London Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime's "challenge board", Mr Hogan-Howe said: "If you have many licences where lots of people wander from pub to pub, they congregate outside, that can become a problem."