Ban on 'irresponsible' drink promotions proposed

Click to follow
Indy Politics

Measures to clamp down on "irresponsible" drink promotions, prostitution and lap dancing clubs were confirmed today.

The Crime and Policing Bill will prevent "low-level crime taking root in our communities" and tackle alcohol misuse, briefing notes say.

Ministers will consult on a compulsory code of conduct for pubs and bars which is likely to ban "£10 all you can drink" and "women drink for free" style deals.

Fines for drinking in public places where it is banned will go up from £500 to £2,500.

Police will also be given powers to seize alcohol from under-18s even if officers cannot prove it was for the youngsters' own consumption.

The moves follow fears over alcohol-related crime and the impact of binge drinking on the nation's health.

There will also be greater powers for councils to reject new lap dancing clubs, which are expected to be licensed in the same way as sex shops.

New laws will criminalise men who use prostitutes and hit them with fines of up to £1,000. The measures will in particular target help at women trafficked into Britain and controlled by pimps.

Men who pay for sex with a woman knowing she has been trafficked into the sex trade could face rape charges.

The Bill will also introduce controversial new direct elections to police authorities.

Fears were raised that direct votes might lead to far-right groups seizing political control over the police if ballots produced a low turnout.

The Bill will include measures to improve security at airports, and strengthened powers to fight serious and organised crime and recover criminal assets.

Jim McAuslan, general secretary of airline pilots' association Balpa, was pleased the Bill included a requirement that all airports draw up a security plan.

He went on: "We welcome this move but it is essential that pilots and other airport workers are at the heart of drawing up the airport security plans. If it is left to administrators the plans could be ineffective or unworkable. Those at the sharp end know what needs to be done, and must be consulted from day one."

He added that Balpa had a network of security liaison representatives comprising pilots working at airports across the country.

Mr McAuslan went on: "They have firm ideas of what needs to be done to strengthen airport security. With their contribution an airport can be safer and passenger lives more secure.

"They can also point out some of the unnecessary and inconsistently-applied rules and regulations which give some passengers, and indeed pilots themselves, such a bad experience of airport security in the UK.

"Pilots are fed up with being seen by some airport managements as part of the security problem. And they resent the notion that they are to be guinea pigs for the ill-conceived national ID card. In other nations the pilot is seen as a responsible employee central to security and safety carrying huge responsibilities and treated with respect.

"We want to ensure that at all UK airports pilots are seen as a key part of the solution and not part of the problem."

Police seeking to stop paedophiles travelling abroad will find it easier to get court orders under the Bill.

Only a handful of Foreign Travel Orders have been given to convicted child sex offenders trying to leave the country - despite fears over "sex tourism" overseas.

The Bill will remove the requirement for police to produce evidence from the last six months when applying for orders.

The orders will last longer and passports will be automatically revoked for paedophiles given blanket bans.

A Home Office spokesman said: "We aim to restrict the ability of child sex offenders to harm children both in the UK and overseas and further strengthen the system of managing sex offenders.

"This includes removing the requirement for evidence within the last six months when the police are seeking these civil orders to manage sex offenders.

"Foreign Travel Orders will be strengthened so that their duration will be increased; passports will be automatically removed when individuals are subject to a blanket Foreign Travel Order, banning them from travelling anywhere in the world; and the age a child must be at risk before a Foreign Travel Order can be made will be increased from 16 to 18."