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Last Updated: Saturday, 26 November 2005, 11:13 GMT
Cold night deters rowdy drinkers
Police (generic)
Police said the weekend would be the first real test of extended hours
Police in Kent said the first Friday night since the introduction of longer pub opening hours was no more rowdy than any other start to the weekend.

A spokesman said there were fewer incidents than usual because of the cold weather.

"Nobody wants to fight in cold puddles and people tend to behave themselves when it is icy," said the spokesman.

Acting Insp John Merritt said it would take time for the laws to "bed in" and to find out when the worst times were.

Trouble will happen whether they extend opening by one hour, two hours or 24 hours
Chris Brown

However, police across the South East believed the first weekend would be a big test.

Thursday night had been quiet, with only a handful of pubs and clubs in Kent and Sussex taking advantage of 24-hour drinking.

But Chris Brown, duty manager of the Muggleton pub in Maidstone, said trouble occurs regardless of opening hours.

"It's going to happen because of drink and it'll happen whether they extend opening by one hour, two hours or 24 hours.

"But I haven't witnessed any problems so far."

Extra patrols

More than 8,000 applications for licences to serve alcohol around the clock were made across Kent and East Sussex, but only 66 were granted.

However, a further 4,350 were given extensions to their licences, usually for an hour or two.

An ongoing operation in Kent to cut anti-social behaviour is being extended, with extra patrols on the streets of Dover and Folkestone.

But Acting Insp Merritt said police resources were limited.

"There are only a certain amount of police officers.

"If they are dealing with public disorder due to the night time economy they are not answering calls from members of the public and community in other areas."


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