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"One in six violent crimes happens in or around pubs"
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UK Shadow Home Secretary Anne Widdecombe
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Sunday, 2 July, 2000, 20:04 GMT 21:04 UK
'Thug pubs' targeted

Police attending a crime summit at Downing Street are expected to put fresh pressure on the government to put more money behind law-and-order measures.

Senior police officers meeting with ministers at Number 10 on Monday are expected to propose measures to stop town and cities being plagued by drunken hooligans, say government sources.

Among them will be powers to allow a senior police officer to shut "thug pubs" if there is a threat to public safety because of drunkenness.

The government is looking for ways to improve the situation without spending too much more money

Fred Broughton, Police Federation chairman

Chairman of the Police Federation, Fred Broughton, said the "chaotic scenes" seen throughout the UK on Friday and Saturday nights were set to spiral unless there was also more investment put into the police.

"We are seeing less police than we used to have. The government is looking for ways to improve the situation without spending too much more money," he said.

Life bans

Home Office sources have said there was a growing recognition of the link between alcohol, disorder and violence and the government was keen to bring in tough new measures to tackle it.

Under new proposals, courts could able to impose special orders prohibiting known troublemakers from going into pubs, with life bans for the worst offenders.

Licensees could also face a strict "three times and you're out" rule where, if they are shut down three times, they will be banned from running pubs and clubs for life.

Tony Blair
Drink up: Blair is criticised for spot fine idea

Mr Broughton said measures needed to be backed by greater investment in the system, technical support and an increase in the number of officers.

He also said retaining high-quality police officers was proving difficult.

"At the moment we are not getting the numbers and quality of people coming through the recruitment system. We are losing more than we are recruiting in London, it's a major problem.

"It is about pay, the attitude towards the police service and we need to work pretty hard to improve that.

"Money is such a dirty word. I'm not hearing about investment in policing. We need some investment across the board."

The new government proposals were contained in a white paper first published in April this year.

Chief constables from the West Midlands, Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire forces are expected to join the commissioner of the Metropolitan Police at Monday's event.

Instant fines

The summit comes after Mr Blair was criticised for making law and order announcements without proper consultation.

On Friday, the prime minister said police should be given powers to march drunken louts to a cash machine and ask them to pay a 100 on-the-spot fine.

Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy described Mr Blair's ideas for on-the-spot fines for hooligans as "daft".

On Sunday, he said on BBC1's Breakfast with Frost: "How are the police actually going to operate that?

"They are not enamoured of this idea where they're made judge and jury at one and the same time as well as being the police."

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See also:

30 Jun 00 | UK Politics
Blair: Fine louts on the spot
28 Jun 00 | UK Politics
Straw urges crackdown on louts
26 Jun 00 | Talking Point
Drink and violence: An English problem?
19 Jun 00 | Media reports
Europe condemns English hooligans
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