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24-hour drinking 'leaves police dangerously stretched
#1
Originally by: woodentop

24-hour drinking 'leaves police dangerously stretched,' warns assistant chief constable

The introduction of 24-hour drinking has backfired as alcohol-fuelled disorder in cities now persists throughout the night leaving police dangerously stretched, an assistant chief constable has warned.

Garry Shewan, of Greater Manchester Police (GMP), called for the legislation to be reversed.

He also warned of the "real risks" associated with recession-busting all-you-can drink "Carnage" nights and cheap alcohol in supermarkets that people buy to get drunk before going out.

His comments came shortly after 19-year-old student Philip Laing was brought before the courts for urinating on a war memorial during a Carnage pub crawl organised by Varsity Leisure Group.

Last month, Gordon Brown admitted the 24-hour rule had not worked and said he always had his doubts about the legislation, which his predecessor Tony Blair introduced in 2005.

Mr Shewan said that far from creating the European cafà culture that was intended, the change in the law had simply allowed people to stay at home drinking later before going out.

"The difficulty is they are coming in already drunk. The sale of cheap alcohol is a real concern for our young people," he told delegates at the opening of the first police conference in Britain aimed specifically at tackling alcohol-fuelled night-time violence.

The one-day event, held in Manchester, has brought together 10 forces, including officers from GMP, Liverpool, Southampton, Cardiff and the West Midlands, to share initiatives and discuss plans on tackling the problem.

"At a time of economic crisis we are seeing some operators trying to reduce prices, the 'Carnage' nights that are starting to take place across the country," Mr Shewan said.

He said "there are real risks" where licensed premises are offering £25 all-you-can-drink promotions.

However, he claimed police had got such promotion nights "under control" because any licensee who wants to hold one must employ more staff and work with local officers to control it.

"The extension of licensing hours, the Government thinking was, it will stop the 11pm or 2am rush," Mr Shewan added. "The reality is it's not stopped the rush and sometimes it has pushed the rush back.

"What used to be a late-night problem is sometimes in major cities extended to 16-18 hours and that clearly is a real risk. Bars and clubs are staying open much later and that puts a real strain on police resources.

"It would be far safer if the period of time people drink irresponsibly was reduced."

Mr Shewan said his force was seeking to tackle the problem on the streets by targeting "problem" pubs and clubs, replacing pint glasses with plastic ones and deploying taxi marshals to monitor queues.

"People in Manchester and other towns and cities across the UK want to be able to enjoy a night out in their town centre without the fear of violence," he said. "It is an issue that affects the life of people and the economy right across the country."
"I'm not fluent in the language of violence, but I know enough to get by in places where its spoken"

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