Extended opening hours may be helping to reduce violence outside pubs and clubs, according to a senior police officer.

In an interview with the Press Association, reported on Guardian Unlimited, Carole Howlett, chief constable of Norfolk Police, said laws introduced late last year, which allow bars to open beyond 11pm, could be having the effect ministers wanted.

Howlett was speaking after figures showed “violence against the person” crimes dropped 8% in Norfolk in the first six months of the year.

She said the improvement was likely down to the fact that people were not all spilling out on to the streets at the same time now closing was staggered, reducing queues at taxi ranks and outside clubs and lessening potential flashpoints.

Last week the Home Office was forced on to the defensive after sections of the media said recent figures showed the new laws had exacerbated drink-fuelled violence on the streets.

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By Chris Druce

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