Thousands of pubs apply for new licence

SUFFOLK'S chief constable today predicted a rise in crime and disorder with the introduction of extended drinking hours.More than 70 per cent of the county's pubs and clubs have successfully applied to stay open longer under new licensing laws set to be introduced.

SUFFOLK'S chief constable today predicted a rise in crime and disorder with the introduction of extended drinking hours.

More than 70 per cent of the county's pubs and clubs have successfully applied to stay open longer under new licensing laws set to be introduced.

The majority have asked permission to serve alcohol for an extra hour on Monday to Thursday and another two hours on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights.

In Ipswich, 311 premises have applied to extend their licenses, along with 276 in Babergh, 426 in Suffolk Coastal and 297 in Mid Suffolk.

Alastair McWhirter, chief constable of Suffolk police, said the new laws, which come into affect on November 24, will have major implications for the force.

He said: “As well as the need for greater police presence to cover closing times, an increase in general crime and disorder is expected.

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“There are a number of aspects of the new arrangements that have already, or will have, an impact on the constabulary.

“The highest priority of these is the need to review shift patterns to maximise policing presence during the revised closing times.”

He added talks have taken place with some clubs and pubs advising them to stop serving alcohol one hour before closing. Some have also been asked to improve closed circuit television systems and boost numbers of door staff.

In Suffolk, a total of 3,100 licensed premises have applied to change their opening hours, with only 904 not making applications.

The impact of the new laws were due to be discussed at a meeting of Suffolk Police Authority today.

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