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Alcoholic Drinks: Crime

Volume 458: debated on Tuesday 13 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the potential effect of a ban on all alcohol advertising on the incidence of alcohol-related crimes. (126596)

While advertising has been shown generally to influence individuals’ awareness and attitudes, there is no clear evidence that advertising contributes to criminal behaviour such as violence. However, in response to the Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategy (2004), both the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) and the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) strengthened the non-broadcast and broadcast alcohol advertising code rules. The regulatory bodies; the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and Ofcom, are undertaking work, designed to assess the impact of these regulatory changes. CAP and BCAP are committed to robust evidence-based rules. If there were new evidence showing major harms, then the codes, or their interpretation, may be reviewed.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the effect of the availability of alcohol for sale in supermarkets on levels of criminal and antisocial behaviour in the vicinity of supermarkets. (126218)

The British Crime Survey provides, for England and Wales, general data on; adult victims’ perceptions on whether violent offenders were under the influence of alcohol; people’s perceptions of whether drunk and rowdy behaviour is a problem in their area; and a range of other data about alcohol related offences. No specific data is collected centrally on crime and disorder in the vicinity of supermarkets.

The Government are determined to see the highest standards of alcohol retailing across the industry including off licences and supermarkets and welcomes the progress that has been made.

We continue to work with the major supermarkets and other retailers to encourage socially responsible retail of alcohol and to tackle some of the associated issues, for example underage sales. Following the success of the Alcohol Misuse Enforcement Campaigns we will conduct, in May, a national Tackling Underage Sales of Alcohol Campaign.

The Licensing Act 2003 gives local authorities and the police a powerful framework to regulate the sale of alcohol and tackle irresponsible licensed premises. Where crime and disorder arises in the vicinity of licensed premises, the licence can be reviewed and, if appropriate, conditions can be added or the licence can be revoked.