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Chief police criticise 24-hour drinking laws

Published:  23 July, 2008

A chief constable has claimed the changes to the Licensing Act have made Britain's binge drinking problem worse.

The outburst follows a YouGov survey released by the British Beer and Pub Association showing that 78% said they drunk the same and 12% less than before the onset of extended opening hours.

Speaking at the National Alcohol Conference in Leeds, West Yorkshire chief constable Sir Norman Bettison said many were now drinking themselves into "oblivion".

He told delegates that he had recently spent a Saturday night on patrol in Leeds city centre.

"If anybody tries to tells you that 24-hour drinking will lead to the creation of a European cafe culture, send them out on to the streets of Leeds - you won't find many people having a sensible conversation over an espresso.

"You won't believe the amount of vomit and urine I saw that evening."

He said the number of licensed premises in the city had risen by 300% inside ten years.

And called for late night pubs and clubs to pay for policing and rehab centres for alcoholics.

"The polluters should pay for the consequences of their business."

Other speakers at the conference included Ziggy MacDonald, head of the national Anti-Social behaviour and Alcohol Unit and deputy assistant commissioner Chris Allison of the Association of Chief Police Officers.