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Lax alcohol laws lead to violence in East End, say critics

PUBLISHED: 19:01 24 August 2009 | UPDATED: 14:45 05 October 2010

A CALL has been made in London's East End to claw back liberal’ licensing laws as latest Home Office crime figures show 6,000 violent attacks last year alone in Tower Hamlets. Almost half the attacks could have been alcohol-related, say Opposition councillors in Tower Hamlets

A CALL has been made in London's East End to claw back 'liberal' licensing laws as latest Home Office crime figures show more than 6,000 violent attacks took place last year alone.

Almost half the attacks could have been alcohol-related, around 2,900 incidents in just 12 months, according to Opposition Tory councillors at Tower Hamlets.

They want to rein back licensing laws which came in four years ago and take tough action against the uncontrolled spread in binge-drinking.

"Labour's licensing laws are too lax," said Tower Hamlets Tory Opposition deputy leader Tim Archer.

"We don't want a return to the old days where every pub shuts at 11pm.

"But local authorities need greater powers to tackle the binge-drinking and violence, especially in the East End."

Critics point out the 'overlapping' problems of late night drinking, fast food outlets selling alcohol at night, under-age drinking, easy availability of high-strength alcohol and supermarkets selling liquor below cost-price.

They blame the "wreckless bargain-basement alcohol" for fuelling violence and are calling for tougher powers for local authorities and greater penalties for premises selling booze to under-age drinkers. They also want rules allowing fast food outlets selling alcohol into the night to be scrapped.

The Police Federation has warned the need to patrol streets round the clock is making it harder to answer emergency calls elsewhere.

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