A YouGov poll has found that members of the public and the police attribute falling rates of alcohol-related crime to better town centre management, better partnership working and our society becoming less tolerant to anti-social behaviour. According to the Crime Survey for England and Wales (ONS) all crimes involving alcohol are falling in every region across the country. Violent crime linked to alcohol has fallen by 32% since 2004, and by 47% since 1995. Department of Transport data also shows alcohol related road traffic accidents have fallen by 44%, fatal accidents by 53% and roadside breath test failures by 19% since 2000.
Responding to the decline in alcohol-related crime, the British public most commonly cited better town centre management (40%), a society less tolerant of anti-social behaviour (38%) and more effective partnership working between police, local authorities, communities and businesses (31%) as reasons for the decline. Public respondents to the poll were most likely to name the police as being contributors to partnerships tackling alcohol-related crime in their local area (57%), followed by bars, pubs and restaurants (45%) and local authorities (36%).
The poll also surveyed a sample of police officers in England and Wales, who agreed that the police force contributes to this partnership (77%), followed by local authorities (53%) and licensed premises such as bars, pubs and restaurants (51%). The police officers surveyed cited better town centre management as the leading reason for the reduction in anti-social behaviour (42%), followed by police, local authorities, communities and businesses working together more effectively (41%) and society becoming less tolerant to anti-social behavior (34%). 64% said that they felt effective partnership working between police, local authorities and licensed premises had increased over the last decade. Alcohol-related crime has declined by 21% in England and across all regions.
The steepest decline is in the north east (33%), Yorkshire and the Humber (29%) and East Midlands (28%). Responding to the regional variations in alcoholrelated crime, the police officers surveyed cited lower standards of living (60%), weaker local economy e.g. limited employment opportunities (57%), a lack of education/ information about the risks of alcohol abuse (39%) and lack of an effective partnership between police, local authorities, communities and businesses (26%), as reasons for the higher rates of alcohol related crime in certain regions. Henry Ashworth, Portman Group Chief Executive, said: “This research confirms what those on the front line in combating alcohol harms have believed for years – that local partnerships are key to tackling crime and anti-social behaviour. “It is in all our interests to continue to invest in partnerships and support these positive cultural shifts.”