The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) has poured cold water on The Daily Telegraph's claims that alcohol fuelled anti-social behaviour has "soared" since the liberalisation of licensing hours.
Figures obtained by the newspaper under the Freedom of Information Act showed a 136% increase in the use of Penalty Notices for Disorder (PNDs) in the last four years.
In the past year to April, 161,431 PNDs were handed out. That compares with 68,342 notices issued to people aged 16 and over in 2004/05 - the last year before the introduction of longer drinking hours.
But Nick Bish, chief executive of the ALMR, said: "Fuller official Home Office stats show significant decreases in the number of violent incidents attributed to those under the influence of alcohol since 1995.
"Those figures also show that there has been a ‘statistically significant' reduction in anti-social behaviour in the last year.
"In this context, the new figures on PNDs clearly demonstrate better police enforcement action on anti-social behaviour on our streets, rather than an increase in criminal behaviour, as the Telegraph might have you believe," he added.
By Daniel Thomas
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