Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Drink 'Turns Market Towns to Wild West' MPs Hear Officers' Views

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Drink 'Turns Market Towns to Wild West' MPs Hear Officers' Views

Article excerpt

Byline: Jack Doyle

CHANGES to licensing laws aimed at creating a cafe culture have turned some market towns into the wild west, say police.

The 24-hour drinking laws have pushed alcohol-fuelled violence later, into the early hours, and stretched police resources, an officer said.

Police Federation vice-chairman Simon Reed told the Commons Culture, Media and Sport committee market towns had suffered most from the Licensing Act.

He said: "My impression of many market towns is they are really like the wild west on occasion because they are really stripped of resources."

He said police had to deal with two or three closing times. "All that's happened is we now have two dispersal times and one that goes on until five in the morning." Town hall leaders said many revellers were drinking before going out by "pre-loading" in shops and off-licences.

A council leader said freshers' week binge drinking should be discouraged.

Local Government Association Culture, Tourism and Sport Board chairman Chris White said the death of one student after he drank a half-litre of vodka in 20 minutes should be a warning to others. …

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