Figures show drink fuels violent attacks

NEARLY 2,000 people were given a police caution or a disorder notice for public drinking offences in Suffolk in only five years, it emerged today.

Josh Warwick

NEARLY 2,000 people were given a police caution or a disorder notice for public drinking offences in Suffolk in only five years, it emerged today.

The figures have been released by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith following a parliamentary question tabled by West Suffolk MP Richard Spring.

While cautions for such offences have steadily fallen since 2002, police are increasingly making use of Penalty Notices for Disorder (PNDs) to punish yob drinkers. PNDs were implemented throughout the UK in 2004.

In all, 1,929 people who carried out public drinking offences received a caution or PND in Suffolk between 2002 and 2006, the latest year for which figures are available.

The statistics relate to a number of crimes, including being found drunk in a public place, drinking in a public place and disorderly behaviour while drunk, all of which are covered by the Licensing Act and the Criminal Justice and Police Act.

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The issue of tackling Britain's booze culture is high on the political agenda at the moment, with alcohol increasingly becoming a significant factor in crime.

In 40 per cent of violent crimes, victims say that the perpetrators were under the influence of alcohol, while violent incidents in and around pubs and clubs accounted for nearly a fifth of all violent crime.

Figures from the British Crime Survey also show that regular visitors to pubs and clubs were more than twice as likely to become victims of violent attacks than those who were not.

Meanwhile, hospital admissions linked to alcohol have more than doubled in England since 1995, although eastern England boasts the lowest numbers of admissions at 72 per 100,000 people.

Is alcohol-related crime blighting your community? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Offenders cautioned or given Penalty Notice for Disorder in Suffolk:

2002: 268

2003: 240

2004: 490

2005: 485

2006: 446