November 28, 2004


Britain: a nation 'in grip of drink crisis' (Martin Bright and Gaby Hinsliff, November 21, 2004, The Observer)

The American 'super-cop' brought in by the Home Office to cut Britain's crime rate warned last night that the nation's binge drinking culture was spiralling out of control and fuelling an epidemic of violence outside pubs and clubs that threatened to overwhelm the police.

In his first major interview the former Boston police chief, Paul Evans, described scenes he had witnessed in the early hours of the morning in city centres across Britain as chaos. 'I'm not sure it can get much worse,' he said, in response to police fears that new licensing laws allowing 24-hour drinking would lead to increased violence.

As the government prepares to put tackling crime and antisocial behaviour at the heart of this week's Queen's Speech, Evans is now considering new proposals from senior police officers for tough new sanctions against violent drinkers.

One measure would see binge drinkers caught fighting in city centres given points on their driving licences. Another would give antisocial behaviour orders to offenders banning them from high-crime nightspots.

Evans, appointed last September as the head of the Home Office's police standards unit, will launch a 'Christmas blitz' next month to crack down on alcohol-related offences using on-the-spot penalty fines, sting operations on businesses serving under-age drinkers and closure notices on pubs and clubs associated with violence.

'If you're in the business of fighting crime, then you have to be in the business of dealing with the alcohol issue,' Evans said.

Where's Carrie Nation when we need her?

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 28, 2004 12:00 AM

Funny how the French appear to react to alcohol with cowardly irrelevance (like us Canadians); the Brits with brawling in the streets; the Russians losing all sense of future and past; Americans become fat NASCAR / NFL addicts.

As opposed to rampaging Napoleon (a teetotaler) worshippers; stiff upper lip imperialists; serfs; gangsters.


Posted by: Randall Voth at November 28, 2004 3:20 AM

Or consider the 20th century's most famous teetotaler and vegetarian, Adolf Hitler.

If people are getting drunk and brawling in the streets, arrest them for brawling in the streets and give them real jail time for doing so. Ninety days in the hoosegow should about do it. There is no reason to penalize the rest of us, or to create punishments that are irrelevant(if you don't drive who cares about points on your license) or unenforceable(you can't go to a crowded club in a high-crime area). That is just nanny-state nonsense incompatible with a free society and so non-viable as to encourage disrespect for the law.

Posted by: Bart at November 28, 2004 6:29 AM