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Last Updated: Saturday, 13 August 2005, 10:12 GMT 11:12 UK
Police chief calls for 7 pint
North Wales Police deputy chief constable Clive Wolfendale
Clive Wolfendale said he got the idea from Scandinavia
The cost of alcohol should be trebled to discourage binge drinking, according to a top policeman.

North Wales Police deputy chief Clive Wolfendale said he feared the problem will worsen when longer licensing hours are brought in later this year.

Mr Wolfendale added that binge drinking was already a bigger challenge to police than terrorism.

But Rob Hayward, from the British Beer and Pub Association, said that pub prices were not the only issue.

"The big issue in terms of alcohol pricing is to do with supermarkets rather than pubs," he said.

The sight of young men and women urinating the street, fighting paralytic in the gutter is not part of a civilised society
Clive Wolfendale

Mr Wolfendale said he enjoyed a drink "as much as the next person" and said "an extension of licensing hours in a civilised society ought to be possible".

"But the reality is that our culture and heritage of excessive drinking, combined with the relatively cheap price of alcohol these days means this is definitely a recipe for real problems on our streets," he said.

"There are minor assaults, serious assaults, there are murders committed simply because people are under the influence of alcohol - it is a national disgrace."

He said the idea for trebling drink prices came from Scandinavia, where alcohol is considerably more expensive.

"I know it wouldn't be popular ... but for me this is the single most impactive thing that could be done currently to curtail the problem," he said.

There is a huge responsibility on the individual - we need education and information - we are dealing with a very potent drug here
Aneurin Owen, Cais

"Currently half of the violence committed in north Wales has a drink component to it.

"Many town centres are effectively no-go areas after 10 o'clock at night, and simply the sight of young men and women urinating the street, fighting paralytic in the gutter is not part of a civilised society.

"I think it is time we all stood firm and said enough is enough."

Aneurin Owen, director of Cais, the drug and alcohol agency for Wales, agreed that raising the price would have an influence on how much people drank.

"Whether we go up to three times the current level I am not quite sure, but I think there is a case for the chancellor to take the opportunity at the budget to put up alcohol slowly over time," he said.

He said that behaviour and the attitudes to alcohol needed to change.

"There is a huge responsibility on the individual. We need education and information - we are dealing with a very potent drug here."


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