Police chiefs call for 24-hour pub licensees to pay for increases in policing

Police chiefs are calling for pub owners who have 24-hour drinking licences to help fund increased police activity as a result of staying open late, including the movement of officers from day to night shifts.

The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) has said that violence and disorder is taking place late at night since the Licensing Act 2003, and as forces have had to deploy officers accordingly, the pub trade should pay either a levy or an increased fee.

Currently landlords opening for extended hours pay an annual fee of up to £350, including a one-off payment of up to £635 for a new licence, to cover the licensing authorities’ costs of administrating, inspecting and enforcing the new law.

Licensing lead Chris Allison said: “As more violence and disorder is now taking place late at night, police forces have had to move officers from day and evening shifts to night shifts, which clearly has an impact on our ability to maintain our service to the public.

“This reinforces ACPO’s view that either a levy should be applied to the trade, or the fee structure increased, to directly fund the enforcement activity that we are having to undertake to minimise the crime and disorder that blights our streets.”

Allison’s comments come on the back of the government review into the 24-hour licensing laws, which found that “alcohol-related violence has increased in the early hours of the morning”.

At present just 470 pubs, bars and nightclubs are open 24 hours and the average closing time across all licensed premises has increased by only 21 minutes.

This is despite more than half of pub, hotel and restaurant owners believing the new law would bring them greater flexible working.

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