[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Thursday, 8 July, 2004, 09:33 GMT 10:33 UK
How would you tackle binge drinking?
Drinking

The issue of binge drinking has taken another turn with a police chief branding a government crackdown as a "knee jerk" reaction which has not been well thought through

Dyfed-Powys Chief Constable Terry Grange was speaking ahead of a Home Office crackdown on loutish binge drinkers to be announced on Friday.

"It's a social attitude towards everything," he said. "Personal responsibility seems to be absent: 'I'm going to get drunk and when I've finished getting drunk I'd like somebody else to look after me'."

What do you think? Are town and cities no-go areas at weekends? Is binge drinking really any worse now? And what should be done about it? Send us your views.


This Have Your Say has now closed. Below is a cross-section of your views:

There is quite simply not enough opportunity to stimulate your body to a natural buzz, unless you play rugby. Make kids aware from a younger age of the wealth of sports it is possible to compete in, invest in the development of Wales' natural sporting geography (cliffs, rivers, mountains etc) and put Wales at the forefront of 'alternative' sports in Europe (bmx, skateboard, surfing etc.). People out buzzing off their own adrenaline are less likely to drink themselves bored.
Alex Gibb, (UK ex-pat) Longmont, USA

I can't believe how people (Politicians) are so stupid! When I was young (a long time ago). Booze was only available from Pubs, Clubs and Off-licences. Now anyone can get it anywhere, so are you surprised at the increase in drinking?? My solution - Go back to how it was before -- Pubs, Clubs and Off-licences only. BUT TRY TELLING THAT TO THE SUPERMARKET OWNERS and THE BREWERS etc . These are the ones to blame. Being a bit cynical -- Maybe it's what the politicians want -- Give the Plebs 'The Mushroom treatment'??
Leighton, south Wales UK

Any attack on the problem should be broad including legislation, public control and police enforcement coupled with strong social persuasion including publicity and education across schools, work places and all media. It used to be acceptable to drink and drive 30 years ago at levels that would earn years in jail today.
Edward D Barnett, Sunnyvale, CA. USA

I think everyone should read the article about the "liberati". To be honest the only people I've heard complaining about it are old people and those really annoying ones, the type who drive at 45mph in a 60limit. Smoke 40 a day, tend to criticise everyone around them without realising the meaninglessness of their own lives.
Will, Wales

Having lived in Cardiff and Sydney, I can't really see that much of a difference in terms of the levels physically drank. It matters little if they stay open 24hrs (like Sydney) or not, you'll still see people shouting, sleeping and vomiting. Cardiff has different issues, and sorting out this aggressive mood in the city is paramount. This is not a drinking issue, but an education issue, as the majority of the problems are caused by people travelling into the city looking for a fight. You can even recognise the same trouble-causers on a weekly basis.
Simon, Sydney, Australia

Unfortunately Britain is increasingly populated by idiots with no regard for other people or their property. Binge drinking does not turn some people into anti-social morons, it merely amplifies their true nature. Truth is, many of these people will never provide any economic benefit to the country but will suck up any handouts on offer for the rest of their wasted lives (whilst passing their unique set of moral values onto their children).
John Bradley, Rockford, USA

Well first if all try not to present drinking in such a positive light ! I regularly watch BBC America here on television and that is often the main focus of the conversations !
Jan Cordani, Maryland USA

Whether he is right or not Terry Grange is next in line after the Humberside Chief Constable. He has dared to criticise his boss. I fear for him.
Stuart, UK

The government should deal with this as a mere symptom of a larger problem; that is to say, a fundamental ill in current British society. Yet, paradoxically, drinking is a core component of British culture. Thus, in my opinion, instead of pushing up drink prices, or blaming everyone else, the government should simply introduce a 30-hr standard week, like the French and other European nations have.
Joey Ramone, UK

To stop heavy drinking tax it very heavily so that it is too expensive to get drunk
Frank Williams, Manchester

If the Police arrested people for being drunk and disorderly under existing laws this culture would never have flourished. I also ask whether the millions spent on the ' laddish ' marketing of Larger has had an affect on the situation.
Ian UK, UK

How about filming the bingers and posting the results on the web? Then when sober the bingers can face ridicule and humiliation at the hand of their friends and acquaintances. Something, I believe the Brits are rather sensitive about (when sober).
George Riches, Coventry UK

The entire entertainment culture is built around getting drunk. Until people start wanting to go places other than a pub or club, the binge drinking problem will remain.
John Bernaid, Cardiff

I read the other day "That young people of today use the foulest of language, have little respect for themselves or their elders, and do nothing else with their spare time but get drunk to excess". It was written in 1256 by a monk commenting on the social problems of the day. Not a great deal changes does it.
Tom, Cardiff, Wales

It's unfortunate to depend on government intervention because a personal freedom is being abused by some. But it may be better than letting the abuse continue. I think blood alcohol level tests should be available in pubs and bars so people have some indication if they drank too much.
Dan Brown, Cecil

I visited Cardiff for the for time last weekend on a Saturday night. I have never seen a binge drinking culture as prominent. People had a total disrespect for themselves and others and seemed to be drinking to a state of paralysis. The atmosphere was tense and there was a strong mounted Police presence. I feel it is a flaw in the British culture that has normalised the notion of binge drinking in the weekends. Unfortunately this has negatively influenced New Zealand and Australian cultures where this is slowing being ingrained into society too.
Parry, Auckland, New Zealand

It is no coincidence that in continental Europe there is no such thing as binge drinking, whilst there is also very little in the way of permitted opening hours. If the same approach is adopted here, as it hopefully will be, then binge drinking and its ill effects will be consigned to the history books.
Tom, Kent

I did not consider myself a big drinker but friends of mine from the US and France are horrified when we go out to dinner and order a bottle of wine. They are quite happy to drink by the glass. That way you think more about how much you want to drink and feel less pressured to drink more.
Laura, Usk

I think the problem of binge drinking is spiralling out of control. It is a lot to do with communication breakdown between people and how they view themselves in the world today. Financial pressures are riper than ever, and people just want to use alcohol as an escape, not only from their own problems, but the problems of the world as a whole. It would be much wiser to use time to help each other out a lot more.
Lynne, Hengoed, Wales

The sort of people who cause trouble after a night out, are the sort of people who are anti-social anyway. Don't take away special offers etc, it will push prices up and spoil the fun for those of us who like drinking (responsibly).
Caroline, Brentwood, Essex

We have rates of depression amongst young people - especially young men, who are constantly told they are underperforming and are unappreciated. They work longer hours and under more difficult conditions than anywhere else in Europe. Instead of putting the people of this country down why don't politicians do something to improve the standard of living.
Joan, Monmouth

I think that the laws should stay as they are. What I think the government needs to do, is to identify the cause of binge drinking, which, lets face it, isn't really any worse than it was several years ago. The government are just using 'binge drinking' as a cover to hide the fundamental flaws in society. A lack of respect and not knowing the difference between right and wrong are two major factors if you ask me, and the people that do cause problems, well, they need to be caught AND punished properly, not just let off with a caution! It's a vicious circle which keeps going round and round!!
Jamie, Leicester, UK

It seems that peoples self esteem must be at rock bottom to join the "pavement culture" that can be seen in any high street in any town in the UK mostly at weekends but could be any night. I know where I live we have a couple of streets in the town with a pub at every other door, the guys fall out of one and fight their way down the street with guys falling out of the other pubs they pass. Guys fighting over girls, all drunk and insensible, girls fighting each other over guys - its a step back to the Neanderthal days. I don't go in the town at night, too scary for my blood.
Denise Wilden, Maidenhead, UK

In the last year I've spent time in New York, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Dubrovnik, Paris, Los Angeles and Vancouver and in all of those places I could get a cup of coffee in a "non-threatening" coffee shop at 11pm (and later), I've given up trying to find such a place here.
Matt McDonald, Ipswich
Why should the small minority of trouble-makers spoil it for responsible binge drinkers like myself...
Rhodri Evans, Brentwood, Essex

As a manager in a city centre bar with virtually no trouble, and little drunken or rowdy behaviour, despite a late licence, i believe it is a case of some venues are at fault and need to be corrected, however not enough responsibility is put on the drinkers themselves. They are not dealt with anywhere near severely enough.
Paul Harrison, Cardiff, Wales

Trying to stop binge drinking must first start with "what causes people to binge drink". Only then will you be able to begin to work on controlling this alarming problem.
Sonia Peek, Tunbridge Wells

The licensing laws for pubs need to be revised, in line with Europe and the rest of the world. Kicking everyone out onto the streets at 11pm because of some antiquated law is bound to cause binge drinking and lots of trouble. Go out in any large UK town at 11pm and see for yourself
Rob, Singapore

It's British culture. You need schools to spend more time with children on this and change the bars who throw drinks at you all day for a 1. Beer is a demon it can turn you into a warrior. As for kids drinking on the streets, there's nothing for kids to do. The powers that be should go and see how it works in other countries.
Taff , Bolton, Lancashire

Human Beings, like animals, do not fundamentally like to be pushed. Have you ever wondered why the closer you get to cities people are more aggressive? Binge drinking is simply a release from the highly-pressured life that most people live these days. People in the UK work more hours and have less holidays than any other country in Western Europe. Politicians have been told about this cause and effect and still the country waits for legislation to address this issue. I am not hopeful!
Paul S Johnson, UK, Hampshire

The problem with binge drinking is the pubs don't let people carry on when they hit the wall. If they can carry on when they get really hammered, they should come full circle, the pubs get more money. Everyone's a winner.
Phil Rayner, Newtown, Powys

In the last year I've spent time in New York, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Dubrovnik, Paris, Los Angeles and Vancouver and in all of those places I could get a cup of coffee in a "non-threatening" coffee shop at 11pm (and later), I've given up trying to find such a place here.
Matt McDonald, Ipswich, England

It is not question of drink, it is a question of behaviour. It is not acceptable to go around assaulting people and damaging property drunk or sober. Don't change the licensing laws, catch and punish the criminals.
James, Machynlleth
Getting into trouble is in the person. I spent 8 years in the RAF, going out to large cities with a gang of "lads" and, I suppose, binge drinking. The lads I was with, nor I, had a fight, caused criminal damage or were (I hope) a nuisance. I think trouble makers will always cause problems and the police need to prosecute them and, more importantly, the courts need to jail them.
Darryl, Brecon, UK

People who drink like this are doing so for a reason. I drank like that for 30-plus years and it is only in the last eight that I now know why
Kirk, Shropshire

This year as a family we shall be holidaying in the UK rather than the continent. It's a shame on our country that our holiday is more than likely to be marred by examples of anti social behaviour fuelled by irresponsible alcohol consumption, litter and belligerent attitudes the like of which is completely unheard of in the rest of Europe. It would seem that even Tenby in the Dyfed-Powys is not immune according to its chief constable. It's not just the weather that puts off the continentals visiting these isles! More shame that we have now legislation to take the place of a normal civilised behaviour code but if that's what it takes to reign in a growing minority, lets have it and let the police enforce to the full.
Graham Matthews, Mold, Wales

It's up to people what they drink and do - not the pubs. Why should others not have cheap drinks because some people can't handle the way they behave?
Lee, Cardiff

Drinking is in the main a pastime enjoyed sensibly by the majority of people. A large, but nevertheless still a minority of people abuse alcohol. They should be brought to task by stiffer sentences for drunken behaviour. Being excessively drunk should in itself be an offence.
Richard Wolf, London, UK

Although a lot of binge drinking is due to social pressure, a lot is also down to people having low self-esteem. Many people cannot seem to have a good time without drinking. Until we address the real issue of self-esteem and self-respect, I doubt binge drinking will be eradicated.
Tania, Cardiff, UK

It is not question of drink, it is a question of behaviour. It is not acceptable to go around assaulting people and damaging property drunk or sober. Don't change the licensing laws, catch and punish the criminals.
James, Machylleth

I think that any initiatives to reduce happy hour-type marketing are to be encouraged. I know Swansea well and I've seen the night clubs offering 10-drink-as-much-as-you-like.
James, Lichfield
I think the police need to clamp down more and be out on the streets instead of hiding in police stations or whizzing by in cars. The government should also cancel 24 hour drinking plans, with our society it would make the problem far worse!
Gareth, Rhymney, Wales

I really think the majority of this problem is caused by the police turning a blind eye in the past until it's got to this state. They should arrest and charge offenders, oppose licenses both for existing establishments and new ones where there is already a problem area developing. It's true society has some blame in this but letting these things happen without any penalty only makes the problem 100 times worse.
Pete, Birmingham UK

I think that any initiatives to reduce happy hour-type marketing are to be encouraged. I know Swansea well and I've seen the night clubs offering 10-drink-as-much-as-you-like.

Speaking personally I know that when I've stayed in a hotel offering cheap or free drinks at happy hour time I have drunk more than I would otherwise and I consider myself a normally responsible drinker. No wonder that less responsible drinkers, especially younger people, drink themselves silly.
John, Lichfield, England

Keep restaurants, cafes, bars and pubs open as long as they want. Reduce the cost of soft drinks. Don't have drinks offers or happy hours.
Ben, Cardiff, UK

What I would do is stop every shop, newsagents, convenience store etc being able to sell individual cans and especially bottles (great for broken glass) of beer. Most of these "non-specialised" shops in my area have more shelve and fridge space devoted to alcohol than they do for soft drinks. How much of an indictment is that on why we find ourselves with these problems?

Secondly the police need to clamp down on drinking in public places and by that I mean places away from actual licensed venues and your home obviously.

Seeing groups of kids standing on street corners, with these huge "get drunk quick" cans of Carling in their hands is a blight on any landscape, there is no way such an environment will foster a responsible attitude to drinking.
William McIntyre, Surrey, England

The only solution to these abuse problems is education regarding the effects of the substance, and treatment for those with problems. Look at how we have curbed smoking with a campaign of education. If you put a litter faith in people and let them take responsibility for their actions, you'd be surprised at the results.
Andrew Chandler, Halifax, UK

Having been to America recently, the enforcement of under-age drinking is strictly adhered to. Why not take that approach here?
Richard, Bridgend
The problems with binge drinking are indicative of other problems within UK society. Young people, who are the worst binge drinkers, have been brought up on the liberal claptrap that you can do whatever you like in life and not expect to be held accountable. The UK has the worst behaved youth probably in the world. Longer licensing hours are not the answer...The government really should be clamping down on anyone who is found to be acting anti-socially whilst under the influence - be they vomiting, shouting or fighting. We need to stop using outdated methods of trying to reward a miscreant for his misbehaviour as a way of getting him to reform.
Jon, Cardiff

The last few times I've been out in my local town, you can guarantee a big fight or scuffle erupts in at least one of the various pubs.

I think alcohol should be illegal. We have a really rough time with drunks in our area but we have no trouble with drugs. Perhaps they should legalise drugs and illegalise alcohol. Kev
Kevin, Basildon Essex

Make off-licences more aware by charging the same as pubs and not having special offers
Mair, Pwllheli

I find the majority of binge drinkers are under-age, which in itself is illegal yet very little is done about that either.

We seem to have forgotten the idea of moderation- and would seek to take alcohol out of the equation rather than educate its responsible use. Publicans have always had a duty to refuse to serve drunks; a vital role which needs to be emphasised. Pubs seem to be getting all the blame, but what about off-licences and supermarkets selling cheap booze without a care about how and where it is consumed?
Paul, Caerphilly

I think the pubs and clubs should be open longer. That way drinkers could pace themselves over a longer period of time having less effect on them and the community.
Gavin Hackwood, Newport, South Wales

As usual, it's binge drinking which is portrayed as the evil, not the idiots who cause trouble when they are drunk. Being drunk is no excuse for fighting and vandalism. Many people can go for a few drinks at the weekend, many more than the government recommends and not end up fighting in the street.

If people can't drink without causing trouble, then maybe they should be banned from drinking or fined an amount of money which is going to deter them. It's easy enough to spend 40 on one night out, a fine of 40 solves the problem for 1 week, then you have the opportunity to go out and do it again. Fines in excess of 1000 for antisocial behaviour seem fair enough to me.
Dave, Edinburgh

I hate the fact that I can no longer go out for a nice evening in cities without being barged out the way, stepping over sick or worse.
Andrew Price, Goytre
Get some decent DJs in pubs that actually know what good music is, so we don't have to drink away our depression of going to yet another pub playing 'Come on Eileen'!
Max Richards, Wales

Having been to America recently, the enforcement of under-age drinking is strictly adhered to. Why not take that approach here?
Richard, Bridgend, Wales

I think this culture of binge drinking is overrated and there is far too much knee-jerk reaction to just about everything. We need to educate our kids about alcohol and the affects, teach them to be responsible. Kids in France have wine with their dinner at an early age. We have perhaps the most restrictive laws in Europe, lets have staggered closing times. Then there won't be the temptation to get 'hammered' before last orders. This would also help the police and NHS and taxis. There should be more police on the beat, more CCTV and harsher penalties for those who are ant-social or commit crimes due to being drunk. Bar/door staff need to be better trained and there should be much harsher penalties for those people who serve people or are under 18 or who are obviously drunk. A national ID card would help.
STUART, Preston

Some pubs and clubs offering 5.00 entrance and all you can drink. These clubs are usually attract youngsters between the age of 17 and 20. That is the problem.
Kelly , Cardiff

We seem to have a culture of "it's ok, they were drunk". Until the law is changed to allow the police to hand out large fines to people misbehaving while drunk, the It's ok culture will remain. And by misbehaving, I mean anything from singing loudly at 3am, to vandalising and assault. When the pubs are allowed to open and close have nothing to do with the behaviour of individual people.
Alex Moon, Reading

Correct me if I am wrong because maybe the licensing laws have changed? But when I ran public houses for a large brewery, our license could be revoked if we were deemed to be selling alcohol to anyone that had already clearly had more than enough to drink. Is this still the case, if so, when will the bar owners take responsibility for the state their customers get into to, and what are the police doing about the licensee's?
Charlie Cook, Bedford Ul

Restrict the opening hours and impose an 11 o'clock curfew all licensed premises in village town and city centres.
Graham, Bridgend

We could start by adopting the same policies to drinking that we have on smoking. Drinking damages health; let us not forget the victims of 'passive drinking', assaulted partners, members of the public, public service staff, service and retail staff and traffic accident victims. Also let's get the pub out of the 'soaps' and the idea that its' ok for 'lads' to get drunk. In short drunks are losers
Roger, Wrexham

Having been raised in a large Midlands city I've seen the effects of binge drinking and it's largely to do with having nothing else to do. If you give a group something other than alcohol to focus their minds on you tend to get less people drinking large amounts - pool, quiz machines, karaoke, etc.

Staggered closing times or 24-hour drinking also helps, and ultimately prevents build ups at taxi ranks an other bottlenecks where trouble can flare.

Finally, offer cheaper alternatives. How can pubs possibly justify robbing the public of GBP1.20 for half a pint of fizzy water and sugar (aka, Coke) when it costs just 5p more for half a pint of beer? Given the choice most people would opt for the beer.
Jamie, Llangeller, Wales

I hate the fact that I can no longer go out for a nice evening in cities without being barged out the way, stepping over sick or worse. It seems to be a challenge to see who can get the most hammered. It is pathetic and embarrassing to our nation. Grow Up, drink sensibly.

I believe that relaxed opening laws would help, also the fact that there are very few late night cafe's open, why does Starbucks close at 8pm, why not 1am ? If there was more choice and longer drinking hours, I am sure that it might help the problem.
Andrew Price, Goytre, Wales




SEE ALSO:


RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific