Headlines: November 15th, 2005

Advice and support is to be given to local authorities and the police to help them deal with alcohol-fuelled disorder and to ensure they can make full use of new powers to tackle drink related problems. The powers were included in the 2003 Licensing Act.The new support package includes a ‘How To’ guide setting out ways in which councils and the police can use their new powers. It has been sent to the leaders of all Unitary and District authorities and to Chief Constables.

More Government guidance and best practice advice and information on a dedicated area of the Together website – http://www.together.gov.uk   and there will be a special phone line offering councils advice on implementing the Act. The number – 020 7072 7447 – will be live by November 24th.

Licensing Minister James Purnell said the new laws gave the police and local authorities powers to deal with drunken yobbery and rogue licensees and the support was designed to help them exploit those new powers to the full. “By drawing on the best practice that is going on out there in our town and city centres, I hope the “How To” guide will encourage similarly effective and innovative approaches to tackling alcohol-fuelled disorder,” he said, adding “The will is there to tackle this problem in the long term.”

The new powers for police include an expansion of their ability to close down disorderly and noisy licensed premises and will empower forces and residents to seek a review of licences. There are also increased penalties for breaches of licence conditions and for selling alcohol to children. Local councils have the power to prohibit drinking in named areas where there is a history of alcohol fuelled anti-social behaviour and can use Anti Social Behaviour Orders to target trouble makers. Measures in the Violent Crime Reduction Bill would introduce Alcohol Disorder Zones where licensed premises would have to contribute to the cost of alcohol-related crime and disorder.