Page last updated at 23:33 GMT, Wednesday, 27 August 2008 00:33 UK

Alcohol link to serious assaults

Man drinking
The problem is at its peak between 0300 and 0400 on Sundays

Police studies have concluded the majority of serious assaults in the Scottish Borders can be "directly attributed to alcohol".

The findings are presented in a report to the region's licensing forum.

Lothian and Borders Police have also highlighted concerns about the "inconsistency" in closing times of clubs across the region.

They believe it plays a part in the "disproportionate" number of incidents in Galashiels town centre.

During the first six months of this year police attended more than 500 incidents which they have attributed to licensed premises.

Professional judgment would conclude that alcohol is the greatest contributory factor in serious assaults within the Scottish Borders
Lothian and Borders Police report

A total of 149 of these occurred in Galashiels town centre alone - significantly more than other towns in the region.

Galashiels is also the place where police have issued most warnings to people under the influence of alcohol.

The problem reaches its peak between 0300 and 0400 on Sunday mornings after clubs close.

It has resulted in a "recurring resource issue" for police to retain officers to work on "town centre dispersal" in Galashiels.

The police report said that problems were less marked in Kelso and Hawick where the clubs closed earlier.

It also looked at the experience of neighbouring authorities.

"The vast majority of licensed premises in East, Mid and West Lothian all close no later than 0200 hours," it stated.

"There are only two exceptions which are in separate towns and are custom-built nightclubs situated well away from residential areas."

Serious assaults

In addition, the study illustrated the part alcohol has played in the majority of serious assaults between April and June this year.

A total of 14 such attacks took place - with eight of them being directly attributed to alcohol.

Police said there was only one assault where it could be definitely discounted as a factor.

The report said: "Professional judgment would conclude that alcohol is the greatest contributory factor in serious assaults within the Scottish Borders."

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