§ Lord Avebury
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they agree with Sir Paul Condon, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, that a great deal of violent crime is linked to alcohol; and, if so, what further action they propose taking to discourage the excessive consumption of alcohol. [HL2315]
§ Lord Williams of Mostyn
My Lords, for some individuals heavy social drinking can lead to varying degrees of disorder and, on occasion, to serious violence. A number of senior police officers have indicated that alcohol-related crime is one of the most serious problems they face.
The Department of Health, through the Health Education Authority, is currently running a sensible drinking campaign—"Think About Drink" which encourages people to think about what is a sensible, responsible amount to drink and about the consequences of drinking too much. This campaign is complemented by the Portman Group's high profile 2f3m4 publicity campaign, which was devised specifically to support Government guidance on daily alcohol unit consumption of 2–3 units for women and 3–4 units for men. The 2f3m4 logo was launched by Ministers in England, Wales and Scotland earlier this year and is now appearing on a variety of materials, including glasses distributed by the National Union of Students.
To tackle problems caused by the inappropriate drinking of alcohol, the Government have already implemented the Confiscation of Alcohol (Young 40WA Persons) Act 1997. This gives the police a discretionary power to confiscate alcohol which seems intended to be drunk in public by people under 18. The Home Office also offers to local authorities a model by-law, making it an offence to continue to consume intoxicating liquor in a designated place after being warned by a police officer not to do so. The Crime and Disorder Bill [H.L.], which is currently before Parliament, will impose a duty on local authorities to develop, with others, a local crime reduction strategy, which will enable local drink-related crime and nuisance to be tackled effectively. The Anti-Social Behaviour Order introduced by the Bill will also be available when individuals locally engage in drink-related anti-social behaviour.