Binge drinking in the UK

Comments by Mike Craik, Association of Chief Police Officer’s national spokesman on licensing in yesterday’s Standard that “the price of alcoholic drinks must be quadrupled” is a blatant shunning of the responsibility from law enforcement agencies in this country.

Raising prices may be one method of limiting the amount of binge drinking that is consuming this country, but there are far greater implications to consider, when taking this path.  If the general population that this hike in prices supposedly impacts, were to actually take notice of the extra cost (and whose to say they would?) clearly the businesses and outlets that prosper from these sales (think about the drain on London nightlife) would also be severely adversely affected.  – Perhaps worse than anyone else?

What’s more, is the simple fact that a country with a tendency to drink will always find a method of satisfying their urges.          –  People still ignore the laws against drinking on public transport, and how rarely do we see them enforced? (Especially in the late hours of reveler drunken evenings).

There’s a lot to be said for the lack of discretion and education from those who are selling the alcohol in the first place.  Having worked in bars and clubs in this country, it is more than acceptable (even encouraged) to turn a blind eye to the fact that certain patrons or customers aren’t in need of another drink.  Revenue is the bottom line.  Surely creating more isn’t the solution?

Limiting the opportunities to drink is the key.  Off licenses selling beers at six for five pounds (and less) says “drink more, and save money” as well as the fact that there is no discouragement towards drinking anywhere you like, be it on the street, in the park, outside the supermarket or wherever else you please.

People selling alcohol are scarcely responsible for their actions or even worse, are completely unaware of the consequences of irresponsible service and further to this, have very little incentive to care.   “Happy hours” – with absurd prices and an obvious confusion over what an hour actually is, are clearly policies that the law enforcement bodies need to investigate.  –  Putting a time limit on people’s drinking and effectively saying “drink as much as you can in this time, and you will save money” is nothing but an incentive to binge.

It’s time that laws in relation to drinking were reviewed, rather than using its cost as a scapegoat.

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