Government admits 'mixed results' from 24-hour drinking

Click to follow

The Government admitted today that 24-hour licensing has driven up violent crime in the early hours - but insisted the "widespread problems" feared by many had not materialised.

Culture Secretary Andy Burnham said the first official review of the law showed it was achieving "mixed" results.

Tougher enforcement was needed to make sure people could enjoy the "freedom" of late licences without boosting violence and anti-social behaviour, he added.

In a written statement to the Commons, Mr Burnham said some areas appeared to have suffered ill effects, and the impact of the law had not been "consistent" across the country.

"Whilst crimes involving violence may have reduced over the evening and night-time period, the evidence also points to increases in offences, including violent crimes, reported between 3am and 6am. This represents 4 per cent of night time offences."

He went on: "Similarly, whilst there is no clear picture of whether alcohol-related admissions have risen, some hospitals have seen a fall in demand, others have reported an increase.

"It is also clear that the overall reduction in alcohol-related disorder we wanted to see across the country has not materialised consistently in all areas."