The Department of Culture, Media and Sport produced an evaluation of the impact of the Licensing Act 2003 (the 2003 Act) last year and this is available on their website at http://www.culture.gov.uk/images/publications/Licensingevaluation.pdf.
The evaluation revealed a mixed picture. The introduction of the Act has not led to the widespread problems some feared. Overall, crime and alcohol consumption were down, with evidence of flexible hours smoothing the peaks of disturbances. However, alcohol-related violence had increased between 3 am and 6 am and some communities had seen a rise in disorder.
The main conclusion was that people were using the freedoms, but that not all areas were sufficiently using the considerable powers, granted by the 2003 Act to tackle problems. There is therefore a need to rebalance action towards enforcement and crack down on irresponsible behaviour and the Prime Minister's recent announcements are part of that response.