Renewed calls from the boss of the Metropolitan Police force for pubs to pay for policing drunken members of the public have met with disdain from businesses across England and Wales.
Speaking at the Confederation of British Industry's annual conference yesterday, Sir Ian Blair said that the onus was on pub operators to pay for extra policing in response to the new licensing laws.
Blair asserted the industry would have to bear the financial implications of keeping streets outside licensed premises safe late at night, and labelled late-night drinkers, "a special interest group", comparing them with football clubs.
However the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) hit back at the claims, highlighting the amount already given to the government through taxation.
"The industry already contributes £22b per year to the Treasury. Why should responsible pubs have to pay for policing when problems on our streets may be related to a small minority of rogue operators, unruly individuals, or other factors?" said a BBPA spokesman.
Pub operators look set to contribute to a levy regardless, with the government planning to introduce Alcohol Disorder Zones (ADZs) as part of its violent crime reduction bill.
Trouble hotspots would be designated ADZs under the scheme, and if no improvement in the behaviour of binge drinkers was shown in an eight week period fines would be slapped on pubs and bars as a punishment.
By Jen Crothers
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