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“Violence down amid pub law change”

Violent crimes recorded by the police in England and Wales fell by 11% at the end of last year, despite longer pub opening hours coming in, figures show.

Read the full BBC NEWS Story.


Institute of Alcohol Studies Response

The carefully selected crime statistics released by the Home Office fail to justify the claims made by the Government and sections of the alcohol industry that the Licensing Act 2003 succeeded in cutting violent crime during its first month of operation.

The Home Office figures for the last three months of 2005 have allegedly shown an 11% drop in overall levels of violent crime, and a 21% drop in serious violent crime, compared to the same period in 2004.

The introduction of the Act coincided with a £2.5 million Alcohol Misuse Enforcement Campaign, designed to cut alcohol related crime including violent crime, and the new figures cover this period. However, Tony Blair and Home Office Minister Hazel Blears both claimed that the figures vindicated the new Licensing Act.

In fact, the Home Office have used a simple statistical sleight of hand; indeed, the figures show the variation between the two periods rather than the variation between October 2005 and December 2005. The reason they fail prove the Licensing Act cut crime is because there are normal seasonal variations and violent crime usually falls between October and December. For example, Metropolitan Police figures show an 8% fall in violent crime from October to December 2003 and a 7% fall from October to December 2004.

Andrew McNeill, Director of the Institute of Alcohol Studies said:
“The Government gave repeated assurances that the impact of the Licensing Act 2003 would be thoroughly and objectively monitored and, if necessary, changes would be made to the legislation. A proper assessment of the impact of the Act would require a period of at least one to two years. If the politically motivated release of these highly misleading statistics relating to an exceptional period of a mere five weeks represents the Government's idea of thorough and objective monitoring, then these assurances were entirely bogus.”