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Alcohol and crime

What is 'alcohol-related crime'?

'Alcohol-related crime' is a term used to refer to two types of offences:

  • Alcohol-defined offences include offences involving drunkenness, such as driving under the influence
  • Offences in which alcohol consumption may be a contributing cause of the offence. Examples include assault, breach of the peace, criminal damage and other public order offences.

In which serious crimes does alcohol play a factor?

According to the National Probation Service, "alcohol is a factor related to a lot of crimes including many assaults, murder and rape cases (between 50 and 80%)".

What impact does alcohol have on anti-social behaviour?

In addition to criminal conduct, alcohol is routinely a factor in general anti-social behaviour, which adversely affects people’s quality of life.

In 2012, a Drinkaware report stated that "around 40 per cent of patients admitted to A&E are diagnosed with alcohol-related injuries or illnesses, many of which result from binge drinking".

The British Crime Survey reports on, among other things, anti-social behavioural trends. In 2011, 24 per cent of adults in England and Wales reported individuals being drunk or disorderly in public places as "a fairly big problem" (or worse) in their locality.

How are alcohol-related offences handled?

The majority of drunkenness offences are dealt with by way of Penalty Notices for Disorder.

These are more minor offences, which do not result in the dispensation of criminal penalties by the courts.

In 2011, there were 36,000 notices for being 'drunk and disorderly', approximately 2,000 for being 'drunk in a highway' and 'consumption of alcohol in a designated public place' and 3,000 pertaining to licensing regulations connected to selling alcohol to minors or intoxicated persons.

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