24 hour drinking laws turn market towns into wild west, police say

Changes to licensing laws aimed at creating a 'cafe culture' have turned some of Britain's market towns into the 'wild west', police said today.

The 24 hour drinking laws have pushed booze-fuelled violence later into the early hours of the morning and stretched police resources, an officer said.

Simon Reed, vice chairman of the Police Federation, told MPs on the Commons Culture, Media and Sport committee that market towns have suffered most since the introduction of the Licensing Act.

He said: 'At times, policing is being really stretched, often in the smaller towns more than in the bigger cities.

All-night drinking laws

All-night drinking laws have turned market towns into the wild west according to police

'My impression of many market towns is they are really like the wild west on occasion because they are really stripped of resources.'

He said police were now having to deal with two or three closing times rather than one.

'All it's done is push closing time further back. We have got closing times at a number of premises which shut at the previous time of 11 or 11.30 and again the same people for 2 o'clock who are leaving other premises,' he said.

'All that's happened is we now have two dispersal times and one that goes on until five in the morning.'