Drinking and Crime – A link?
I sit on the Licensing Act Committee and I am currently the Vice-Chairman. Its role is to make sure the Licensing Act 2003 is implemented and those premises and people who are covered by it adhere to it. Click here for the Act.
One of the roles is monitoring the effect of the late night economy and the impact on crime and disorder. We can, if needed, tackle problems that arise from premises that don’t adhere to the Act. We have some far reaching powers that can remove some, or all of premises licensable activities via means of a hearing.
One of the powers we have is to introduce a Cumulative Impact Zone (CIZ). Currently 3 Towns have one of these. They are Newquay, Truro and Penzance. The Committee must review these CIZ every 3 years to make sure they are still working, or if they are still required. It’s not 3 years yet, but we have decided to review early to take into account some major changes that are coming to the Licensing Act (LA03) soon. We will also be looking into other areas to see if they require a CIZ.
The Committee met on Friday and was presented with a report on these 3 areas and the issue of crime and disorder connected to licensable activities, namely drinking. There were some very stark figures that did in fact point to a problem. In the report it showed that there was an increase in violent crime connected to alcohol in these 3 areas. With Penzance 14%, Newquay 10.6% and Truro15.5% increase.
Further detailed figures (2009/10) point out that a large percentage of violent crime did occur between Friday to Sunday between the hours of 8pm and 4am. You can see a direct link with the following data between closing, late night drinking and crime and disorder.
Penzance 49% of violent crimes occurred during this time, with a peak of 11pm on Friday and 3am on Sunday.
Newquay it was 51.6% with a peak from Saturday 10pm till 4am Sunday
Truro it was 45.9% with a peak until 2am on Saturday.
The report also covered the age and gender of who was a victim of violent crime
Penzance: 279 victims, 41.6% female, 59.1% male, 20.4% of these crimes were males aged between 15 and 24
Newquay: 234 victims, 33.8% female, 66.2% male, 32.1% of these crimes were males aged between 15 and 24
Truro: 160 victims, 41.3% female, 58.8% male, 25% of these crimes were males aged between 15 and 24
The report is very detailed and is a good source of data to try and tackle known hotspots. No one wants to stop people having a good time, but this problem does have a major impact on people living in those areas and resources by the Police and other agencies. In other words it uses up more of your Taxes to tackle this problem.
The Committee will undertake a full review of Cornwall and look at the best ways to tackle this issue. At the end of the day we can only do what the LA03 allows us. From my experience this Act has a lot of holes in it which hopefully will be address with the review (we hope).
I have also have to say the vast majority of Landlords and Owners of Pubs/Clubs do try and work with the Authorities as they don’t want the hassle of dealing with the nastier element of drinking. I believe we all have to work together to achieve this.