Late-night opening fails to halt violence

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The Independent Online

Pubs and clubs are closing an average of just 21 minutes later on Saturday nights following the move to 24-hour opening hours, a government report has revealed.

Ministers were accused of being "in denial" after they concluded that the licensing reforms had had a "mixed" impact, producing neither an upsurge in violent crime nor a move towards more civilised drinking. They said only four per cent of premises had opted to open round the clock, with more than half still closing at 11pm.

The Government reported that night-time violence fuelled by alcohol had remained unchanged since 24-hour opening was introduced in 2005, although it admitted there had been an increase in attacks between 3am and 6am.

Andy Burnham, the Culture Secretary said: "The overall reduction in alcohol-related disorder we wanted to see across the country has not materialised consistently in all areas." He said that "problem hotspot" areas would be identified in which police and local authorities would be given the power to shut bars if trouble persisted.

A "yellow card, red card" system would be introduced for premises that broke licence conditions.

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