Police have ‘less control’ in estates due to increase in off-licences, says chief
A SURGE in the number of off- licences on housing estates has led to a loss of control, Britain’s most senior police officer has warned.
The proliferation of off-licence premises over recent years, particularly on estates away from towns and city centres, was a key issue police and councils had to keep on top of, Scotland Yard Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe said.
Officers and the NHS were also left picking up the pieces when too many clubs and pubs were granted a licence in the same area and licensees “get it wrong”, he added.
Backing a zero-tolerance approach, Mr Hogan-Howe said holding a licence to sell alcohol was a privilege and those who abused that should lose their powers. His warning came after a study for Alcohol Concern last year linked the number of off- licence premises in an area to the number of under-age drinkers admitted to hospital for alcohol-related problems.
Although that study excluded London, it found that on average for every two stores per 100,000 of population selling alcohol, one under 18-year-old sought treatment.
Some 48,700 “off-sales alcohol only” premises licences were in place in 2010, around a 75 per cent increase from 27,910 in 1970, figures showed.
Mr Hogan-Howe said: “Not so much in the night-time economy – in the city centre and the town centres we’ve got – but in the estates, the multiplication of off-licences over the years has led to less control.”
“We want to promote business, we want to promote the night-time economy, we want to keep it a safe environment.”
Along with selling alcohol to people who were already drunk and the density of clubs and pubs, “those are the three really big areas we’ve got to keep on top of”, he said.
Speaking to the first meeting of the London Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime’s “challenge board”, Mr Hogan-Howe said: “If you have many licences where lots of people wander from pub to pub, they congregate outside, that can become a problem. For me, a zero tolerance policy in that area is good.”
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Sunday 19 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 7 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 9 C to 20 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: North