Minimum alcohol pricing had little impact on levels of drink-related crime in Scotland, study finds

Minimum pricing for alcohol had little impact on drink-related crime following its introduction in Scotland, a study has found.

Minimum pricing for alcohol had little impact on drink-related crime following its introduction in Scotland, a study has found.

Researchers looked at trends in alcohol-related crime, disorder and public nuisance after minimum unit pricing (MUP) was introduced in May 2018.

These issues were declining before MUP and its introduction had no statistically significant impact on the trajectory, they found.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The study was carried out by Manchester Metropolitan University, which analysed Police Scotland data.

MUP set a base price of 50p per unit of alcohol.

Public Heath Scotland (PHS) has commissioned a number of other studies into the impact of MUP.

Read More

Read More
Study hailed as ‘powerful evidence’ that minimum alcohol pricing in Scotland red...

Earlier this year, a report found that people with alcohol dependencies consumed less cheap drink after the policy was introduced.

Another study for the Lancet Public Health journal found alcohol sales fell by nearly 8% after MUP began.

Jon Bannister, professor of criminology at Manchester Metropolitan University, said: “Whilst off-trade alcohol sales in Scotland fell following the introduction of minimum unit pricing, this study finds that reduction in sales had minimal impact on the levels of alcohol-related crime, disorder and public nuisance reported in Scotland.

“Drug-related crime appears to have been similarly unaffected, with no increase seen around the introduction of MUP.

“On the whole, the limited discernible impact of MUP on alcohol-related crime, disorder and public nuisance suggests that the reduction in off-trade alcohol sales that followed implementation is below that required to deliver a reduction in crime.

“Or, if crime did reduce, it has done so at a scale that the evaluation could not identify.”

Dr Karl Ferguson, an intelligence adviser at Public Health Scotland, said: “Understanding the impact of MUP on social harms including crime and public safety is an important aspect of the overall evaluation.

“The findings of this research are in line with previous Public Health Scotland studies which reported limited evidence of increased theft or illicit substance use as a result of MUP.

“These studies included research into how MUP affected small retailers, people drinking at harmful levels, and children and young people.”

A number of further studies into the impact of MUP are under way.

These will include studies on ambulance call-outs, hospital admissions and deaths, and the relationship between alcohol and illicit substance use.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by Coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.

 0 comments

Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.