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Getting Drunk Safely?: Night-Life Policy in the UK and Its Public Health Consequences

NCJ Number
Drug and Alcohol Review Volume: 30 Issue: 5 Dated: September 2011 Pages: 536-545
Mark A. Bellis; Karen Hughes
Date Published
September 2011
10 pages
This study examined the policies and interventions that have been implemented in the United Kingdom in an effort to reduce violence in public night-life environments, and the outcomes of these measures are assessed.
The overall intervention for improving the safety of night-life in the United Kingdom is a model of partnership in planning and delivering a package of interventions in night-life environments. In addition to increased policing and security, interventions often involve community mobilization, strict licensing enforcement (e.g., door staff training and registration, underage drinking legislation, and opening hours) and engagement with the alcohol industry (e.g., enforcement agency meetings with bar owners and restrictions on irresponsible alcohol promotions) to promote responsible practice. In part, the British approach fits the community intervention model that has shown success in several countries; however, the costs of implementing such measures are significant, and there is disagreement about their effectiveness. At a local level, strategies to prevent alcohol-related violence have focused predominantly on increasing safety in night-life environments, deterring crime, and targeting multiagency resources at problem licensed premises; however, the vast investment in policing pubs, bars, and nightclubs has not been matched in off-licensed premises. With the exception of enforcement activity to prevent underage sales of alcohol, shops, supermarkets, and liquor stores have been neglected in the drive to prevent alcohol-related harm. This inability to adopt a whole system approach to alcohol has significant repercussions when a broader perspective is adopted. 1 figure and 72 references