Responding to the Home Office’s consultation on police funding, the ALMR has welcomed the opportunity to promote closer working with the police, but expressed concerns about a lack of clarity in the proposals.
The Home Office proposes to remodel funding for police forces in England and Wales with pub density in areas a factor in allocating funds. The police have also identified alcohol as a driver for crime.
ALMR Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: “The Home Office’s plan presents the licensed hospitality sector with an opportunity to foster closer working relationships with police, but we are concerned about a number of details in the document. Alcohol has been placed at the top of the list of drivers of crime, although the document fails to mention that alcohol consumption is declining along with alcohol-related crime and antisocial behaviour, or that population density and footfall are more significant factors. We are wary that such an emphasis on alcohol as a driver of crime across the UK may have the effect of distorting police priorities.
“It is also disappointing to see that the Home Office has done little to update its research on the costs of alcohol-related crime and no acknowledgement of the changing nature of patterns of consumption. Most worryingly, the document appears not to give an objective assessment of what constitutes a bar and it is unclear whether off-licence premises have been considered as a factor. The document indentifies alcohol as a driver of crime yet there appears to be no acknowledgement that 70% of it is sold away from pubs and bars.
“On the other hand, if police officers can see the link between a vibrant and flourishing night time economy and the funding they receive, this could be the basis for positive partnership.
“This could present us with an opportunity to foster a closer working relationship between the licensed hospitality sector and the police. The greater the number of pubs and bars within their area, the more funding the police will receive, giving them much less incentive to restrict trade and close premises.
“If we are able to engage in meaningful dialogue, this could represent a chance to move the focus of the argument away from containing the night-time economy, to the promotion of safe, responsible environments. “