Live event industry
Figures released by the Home Office as part of the British Crime Survey have provided statistics on the impact of round-the-clock licensing since its introduction in November 2005. The figures, based on reports from 30 police forces in England and Wales, showed 940,522 violent crimes (including woundings and assaults), harassments and cases of disorder and criminal damage were committed from 6pm to 6am in the year after pubs and clubs were allowed to open later. That is a negligible 0.7 per cent increase on the 933,701 recorded in the previous year. Whilst the Times reported that “ More than one million people were attacked by drunken thugs last year as the first official analysis of round-the-clock drinking revealed increasing public disorder in the early hours as Alcohol-fuelled violence rose in the first full year of relaxed licensing laws, with a particular jump in the hours after midnight as clubs and pubs stayed open later ” A Home Office official, said: “There was a lot of worry when we were changing the Licensing Act that we would be engulfed by mayhem and murder. We all know from our experience that has not happened.” But there was a sharp increase in violence between 3am and 6am, suggesting some fights were happening later because pubs and clubs were not closing at 11pm, although the total number of attacks was still low. Gerry Sutcliffe, the newly appointed Licensing Minister, said “any increase in alcohol-related crime at any time of day is unwelcome but these statistics must be seen in context. Overall, serious incidents have fallen and been spread more evenly throughout the night.” However a simultaneously released study from St Thomas’ Hospital in London disclosed that alcohol-related visits to A&E departments had trebled since the licensing reforms and the British Crime Survey statistics showed that t he number of deaths by dangerous driving or while under the influence of drink or drugs reached its highest level for 30 years, increasing by 7 per cent over the year to 462.