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News - 23 October 2012

Free-for-all licensing fuelling inner city violence says Met chief

According to Met Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe, the growth in off-licences in recent years has helped to fuel problems of inner city crime and anti-social behaviour. He is calling for more action from councils in restricting and controlling off-sales of alcohol.

Police officers, claims Hogan-Howe, and the NHS are left to pick up the pieces when too many clubs and pubs are granted a licence in the same area and licensees "get it wrong"..

Backing a zero-tolerance approach, Mr Hogan-Howe said holding a licence to sell alcohol was a privilege and those who abused that should lose their powers. His warning came after a study for Alcohol Concern last year linked the number of off-licence premises in an area to the number of under-age drinkers admitted to hospital for alcohol-related problems.

Although that study excluded London, it found that on average for every two stores per 100,000 of population selling alcohol, one under 18-year-old sought treatment. Some 48,700 "off-sales alcohol only" premises licences were in place in 2010, around a 75% increase from 27,910 in 1970, figures showed.

Read the rest of this item from the London Standard here

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