New Clause 3 — Alcohol disorder zones

Part of Crime and Security Bill – in the House of Commons at 6:45 pm on 8th March 2010.

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Photo of Alan Campbell Alan Campbell Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Crime Reduction) 6:45 pm, 8th March 2010

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for making that point, because progress is being made. One of the issues that is being addressed right across the country, particularly in crime and disorder partnerships and particularly where the Home Office and the police are working closely with local authorities and agencies, is not only the health risk that alcohol poses, but the way in which health data can be used to inform this process. This approach is playing an increasing part in many more local partnerships' problem solving: they are getting a better grip on what the problem is like in their area and how they measure it. People are realising that although enforcement action is important-that is why the police must always be on the front line on this issue-a number of agencies have a role to play. It is a sad fact that in tackling not only alcohol-related disorder but knife crime it is often the health service that sees things at first hand for the first time; they see the people who have been caught up in these things, both the victims of crime and its perpetrators. I am happy to tell the hon. Gentleman that what he describes is very much part of the work that is being done on tackling not only knife crime but a range of matters, including alcohol-fuelled violence and disorder.

That brings me to the issue of ADZs. New clause 3 proposes that sections 15 to 20 of the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006 should be repealed. They give local authorities powers, in consultation with the police, to designate in their area an ADZ. To pay for additional policing and other enforcement activities they can impose charges on premises and clubs within the zone that sell or supply alcohol, as specified by the Secretary of State in regulations, and the regulations were introduced in June 2008.

I say to Chris Huhne -we have debated this point many times-that there are, as he knows, no alcohol disorder zones yet. He seeks through his amendment to remove the power to set up alcohol disorder zones because there are none yet. Despite that, they are an important power available to local authorities, and it would not be correct to remove that power.