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Public perceptions of crime

Public concern about ‘alcohol-related crime’ often relates to offences involving a combination of criminal damage offences; drunk and disorderly and other public order offences involving young males, typically between 18 and 30 years of age, but increasingly, also young females; and to those often occurring in the entertainment areas of town and city centres.

England & Wales

The most recent National Statistics figures show that “there were 21,000 Penalty Notices for Disorder (PND) issued in relation to non-notifiable offences for the year ending December 2015…the majority of these PNDs related to drunk and disorderly behaviour”.[1]

Alongside this, in 2010/11, almost a quarter (24%) of the public in England and Wales were found to believe drunk or rowdy behaviour poses a significant problem to their local community.[2] They cite alcohol as the third major cause of criminal activity in Britain today (figure 3).



Similar to England, a substantial proportion of the 42,933 Antisocial Behaviour Fixed Penalty Notices (ASBFPNs) issued as a main penalty in Scotland in 2014-15 were for an alcohol-related offence – 41% were issued for consuming alcohol in a public place.[3]

The Scottish Crime and Justice Survey (SCJS) further highlights the extent to which alcohol misuse affects the nation's citizens (see figure 4). In 2010/11, 74% of respondents identified alcohol abuse as a “big problem” in Scotland today.


96% of all respondents found alcohol to abuse to be a problem in Scotland today. A greater proportion of females than males found alcohol abuse to be a “big problem” (78% and 69% respectively) across all age groups. 45 – 59 year-olds were most likely to treat alcohol abuse as a “big problem”.

Northern Ireland

Alcohol is the second most commonly identified cause of crime in Northern Ireland, according to the 2014/15 NICS (see figure 5).


Alongside this, findings from the NICS in both 2012/12 and 2012/13 showed that around a third of respondents felt alcohol-related anti-social behaviour had increased in the last year.[4]

Penalty Notices for Disorder were introduced within Northern Ireland in June 2012. Therefore there are no figures on non-notifiable offences where the offender(s) was believed to have been under the influence of alcohol.[5]


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[1] Office for National Statistics (ONS) (July 2016), ‘Crime in England and Wales: year ending Mar 2016’, p. 9 <>

[2] Chaplin R., Flatley J., and Smith K (July 2011)., 'Crime in England and Wales 2010/11: Findings from the British Crime Survey and police recorded crime (2nd Edition)', Home Office Statistical Bulletin 10/11, London: Home Office, p. 95 <>

[3] The Scottish Government (February 2016), ‘Criminal Proceedings in Scotland 2014-15’, pp. 35–36 <>

[4] Campbell P., and Cadogan G (October 2014)., ‘The Night-Time Economy: Findings from the 2011/12 and 2012/13 Northern Ireland Crime Surveys’, Research and Statistical Bulletin 13/2014 <>

[v] Police Service of Northern Ireland (August 2012), 'User Guide to Police Recorded Crime Statistics in Northern Ireland', Crime Statistics, pp. 7–8 <>