HC Deb 16 September 2003 vol 410 cc657-8W
Mrs Curtis-Thomas

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to tackle antisocial behaviour associated with drinking alcohol. [129081]

Ms Blears

The Government have already brought forward a range of legislative measures designed to help tackle anti-social behaviour associated with drinking alcohol. The Licensing (Young Persons) Act 2000 makes it an offence for any person to sell alcohol to a person aged under 18 on licensed premises, or knowingly to allow another person to do so. It also created the offence of buying, or attempting to buy, alcohol on licensed premises on behalf of a person aged under 18.

The Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 provides the police and local authorities with increased powers to tackle under-age drinking. The Act contains measures to make it easier for local authorities to designate areas where restrictions on anti-social drinking will apply. It also created a positive duty on licensees and their staff not to sell alcohol to persons aged under 18s.

Section 155 of the Licensing Act 2003, which came into force on 10 September 2003, extends existing police powers relating to the confiscation of alcohol from people who are drinking and causing a nuisance in public places, so as to allow for the confiscation of sealed containers, in addition to opened containers, in defined circumstances.

In addition, anti-social behaviour orders (ASBOs) have been used to prohibit individuals from consuming alcohol or being under the influence of alcohol in public. Such orders can also be used to prohibit individuals from entering licensed premises or off-licences and buying alcohol. ASBO prohibitions can cover any geographical area up to and including the whole of England and Wales.

For the future, the Home Office is working with the Prime Minister's Strategy Unit on their project to develop a national alcohol harm reduction strategy. The project is looking at the wide range of alcohol harms including alcohol-related crime, anti-social behaviour and community safety. A report setting out the cross-governmental alcohol harm reduction strategy for England is due for publication during autumn 2003.