The 24-hour drinking laws
Pubs and bars can now apply to stay open 24/7. Will this lead to a continental-style café culture or puke-splattered streets and cat fights round the clock? We look at the basics surrounding the law.
The licensing law allows pubs, clubs, bars, supermarkets and service stations in England, Scotland and Wales to apply for longer opening licenses. Critics of the law say the extension of the licensing hours encourages drunken goings-on in the streets.
The Government and supporters of the new law believe this is a good strategy to reduce booze-related crime and anti-social behaviour. They say the changes reduce the problem of post-pub brawling associated with hordes of people leaving different venues at the same fixed closing time.
What does the law say?
- There are flexible opening hours for bars and pubs, with the potential to open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- Venues are able to apply for a licence, but have to inform the local community and police to give them 21 days to object.
- Any pubs that become disorderly as a result of the new opening hours will be given two months to sort out the situation or they will be billed for the extra policing costs.
At the time when the change in the law took effect, just over 60,000 outlets could sell alcohol for longer. But only about 1,000 outlets were granted the 24-hour license. Fewer than 400 of these are pubs and clubs, and the rest are supermarkets and service stations.
Some of the outlets that have received the 24-hour license may not even use them. A survey carried out by The British Beer & Pub Association has shown that the only days most venues will extend their licenses are Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with the majority expecting to close at 1 or 2am.
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