Binge-drinking Britain 'a drain on police resources'
All-day drinking has led to a "significant drain on police resources" as officers are being used to deal with the after-effects of binge-drinking, police say.
Police Federation leaders will tell MPs licensing reforms are not working with emergency 999 calls going unanswered as police are "tied up with intervening in pub fights or drunken street brawls."
New drinking laws were introduced three years ago eliminating traditional closing times, allowing bars and pubs to serve alcohol until much later.
Ministers claimed at the time binge drinking would be eliminated and replaced with a "continental-style" relaxed drinking culture.
The Police Federation however will today tell the Commons culture, media and sport committee's inquiry into Labour's Licensing Act that problems are rife.
In most areas pubs and bars stay open an hour or two later, with police still facing a concentrated time of disorder at midnight or 1am.
Police are also kept on guard in many city centres as "super-pubs" serve until the early hours of the morning, resulting in alcohol-fuelled violence.
The Police Federation, representing 140,000 officers, will argue staggered closing times have emerged, resulting in more officers needed on late-night patrol.
As a result, police "afternoon" shifts run from 6pm-4am, meaning fewer officers are available during the day, leading to forces being stretched.
The committee will also be told one of the reasons why the act has not succeeded in creating more responsible attitudes toward drinking is because of the cultural importance the British attack to alcohol.
The federation will also call for an end to cheap alcohol on sale in pubs, clubs and supermarkets, which they say "encourage binge drinking and contribute to the persistence of alcohol abuse among the young and underage population".
Shadow Home Secretary Dominic Grieve, said: "This is a clear illustration of the consequences of Labour's decision to simply unleash 24-hour drinking on our towns and cities as well as their failure to tackle those who sell and consume alcohol irresponsibly.
"We have already announced proposals to crack down on irresponsible retailers and under-age drinking.
He added: "The Government must cut police bureaucracy so that officers can be deployed onto the streets to combat drink fuelled violence.
"It is not right that the police should have to deal with the consequences of Labour's failure with one arm tied behind their backs. They must also allow late licences to be applied appropriately and at local discretion."
# By Chris Irvine
# The Telegraph
# 14 Oct 2008
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