Rowdy drunks could be banned from pubs under new crime Bill

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The Independent Online

Aggressive drunks could be barred from all pubs and clubs in their home areas for up to two years in a crackdown on alcohol-fuelled violence.

Aggressive drunks could be barred from all pubs and clubs in their home areas for up to two years in a crackdown on alcohol-fuelled violence.

Police will also be given the power to impose on-the-spot 48-hour alcohol bans on rowdy drinkers.

The measures were included in a wide-ranging Violent Crime Reduction Bill, which contained new curbs on the manufacture, sale and possession of knives, guns and imitation weapons.

Ministers admit the problem of binge-drinking, particularly among young women, has soared in the past five years, with many town and city centres becoming "no-go" areas in the evenings and weekends.

The new "drinking banning orders", ranging from two months to two years, could be imposed by a court on those found guilty of alcohol-related crime or disorder. They would be prevented from entering "certain areas and licensed premises" and could face a jail sentence of up to 51 weeks if they breach the order.

Hazel Blears, the Home Office minister, said the scheme was designed to prevent troublemakers "going into the town centre and causing mayhem".

She said: "This is very much more targeted at the people who maybe in their ordinary life are pretty well behaved but when they go out and binge drink, they turn into fairly unpleasant characters. They might be shouting, they might be encouraging other people, they might be part of the general fracas."

Police will be able to issue instant 48-hour bans on drinkers requiring them to stay away from all licensed premises for a weekend.

The Government is pressing ahead with plans for "alcohol disorder zones" under which licensed premises contribute to the cost of alcohol-related disorder in areas plagued by heavy drinking.

The Bill also makes it illegal to make or sell replica firearms that could be mistaken for real and introduces tougher manufacturing standards to prevent imitations being converted to fire real ammunition.

The age limit for buying or firing an air weapon without supervision will be raised from 17 to 18 and it will be an offence to use other people to hide or carry guns or knives.

The Bill also proposes increasing the age limit for buying a knife from 16 to 18.