The Government also examined, with the assistance of experts, concerns about glass injuries resulting from the use of bottles and glasses in licensed premises as weapons and the impact on Accident and Emergency Departments. All of the matters described above were carefully considered before the Government published its policy in the White Paper Time for Reform in April 2000. Moreover, all Government Departments including the Department of Health were fully consulted before the policy was presented publicly.
The Government will, of course, be monitoring and evaluating the effects of the Licensing Act closely so that any policy implications arising out of its implementation can be addressed as necessary. Some of the provisions of the Licensing Act 2003 are incorrectly described in Chapter 7 of the Committee’s report (paragraphs 80 and 82).
Issues for young people and the binge drinking culture were raised by respondents to the national consultation that was carried out jointly by the Cabinet Office (Strategy Unit) and Department of Health on the Strategy. There were also issues about communication and the types of messages to be disseminated. These along with the large number of responses received are helping to inform the development of the Strategy. The project has now moved into its policy phase and is developing recommendations. The final report will set out the cross-governmental strategy and is due for publication later this year. Implementation of the Strategy will begin according to the timetable in 2004.
Demonstrating casual connections between the number of people using leisure facilities in an area and crime and disorder is reasonable enough, but it seems improbable that some direct causal relationship exists between the overall capacity of licensed premises and crime and disorder. Capacity limits themselves do not relate to the number of people using a town and city centre. They relate to the maximum number of people who may be on any individual premises at any one time.