Drinking games

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As a follow up to last week’s post about a dodgy-looking Don Foster press release, here’s Mark Oaten’s response to the latest BCS figures:

Alcohol fuelled violence out of control – Oaten

Responding to the publication today of figures on violent crime from the British Crime Survey, Mark Oaten MP, Liberal Democrat Shadow Home Secretary, said:

“These figures show that alcohol is now the major driver of violent crime in this country.

“If the Government was really serious about tackling the causes of crime, Ministers would not have gone ahead with 24 hour drinking.”

It’s gone 1am and I haven’t been able to find the exact report, but this summary from Channel 4 News should give you an idea what he is talking about:

The Home Office has revealed that 22 per cent of all violent crimes take place in or near pubs and clubs.

The figures from the British Crime Survey showed the figure had increased from 19 per cent in 1996.

It included 30 per cent of woundings, 21 per cent of common assaults and 11 per cent of robberies.

Nearly half of victims questioned (48 per cent) said their attackers were under the influence of alcohol, with only 18 per cent saying the offender was on drugs.

The figure was slightly down on last year, when 50 per cent said their assailants had been drinking.

But it was significantly up on 1996, when the figure was 40 per cent.

The figures showed that nearly six out of ten wounded victims said their attacker had been drinking. In 1996, it was five out of ten.

Five out of ten people who had suffered a common assault said their assailant was under the influence of alcohol, as did one in five who had been robbed.

The figures come just one week after the Government extended pub hours to 24-hour drinking in some places, although the expected orgy of violence and drunkenness has failed to materialise in the first few days of the new regime.

A few points:

  • An increase of 19% to 22% represents a 16% increase, and over 9 years (if you recall, Don Foster was claiming a 20% increase over 2 years last week, based on reported crime) [UPDATE – this is of course a 16% increase of alcohol-related violent crime compared to other violent crime not an overall increase; see next post];
  • Indeed, the BCS here is suggesting a slight drop from last year;
  • In what way does this in any way suggest that “alcohol fuelled violence is out of control”?
  • It isn’t 24 hour fucking drinking. Hardly any pubs have applied for it. You know this Oaten and you are just fuelling a media myth.

This is going beyond mere hyperbole and into knowingly dishonest territory. What’s worse is that this particular band wagon has moved on now. Didn’t you see? The world didn’t end last Thursday. Instead, a few people stayed in the pub until 1am and then toddled off home.

It is one thing to peddle nonsense about crime being out of control, quite another to do it when the media have lost interest in the issue. Pathetic.

5 thoughts on “Drinking games

  1. Indeed, I am yet to find a pub that has decided to stay open longer than 11pm, nor have I witnessed hordes of people charing round town centres at 11pm on a school-night looking for said rare late night drinking dens. As ever, the much vaunted social calamity had failed to materialise.

  2. Not convinced by your stats … as the number of violent crimes hasn’t stayed the same since 1996.

    So an increase in the *proportion* of violent crimes that happen near pubs of 16% doesn’t mean that the number of violent crimes taking place near pubs has gone up by 16%. It may have gone up by more or less (depending on what’s happened to the total number of violent crime). But either way confusing change in the proportion with change in the actual total doesn’t exactly burnish your argument that it’s everyone else who is touting dodgy stats … 🙂

  3. They aren’t “my” stats – as I say above I haven’t had a chance to look at the original figures and I don’t recall endorsing them at any stage.

    But they are the stats that Mark Oaten is referring to.

    I quite intend to look at the primary source as soon as I get a chance.

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