There has been a lot of talk over the last few weeks of declining standards of behaviour on York’s’ City centre streets.
Much of the decline has been put down to excessive alcohol consumption.
Some blame changes to the licensing laws which allow pubs and clubs much longer opening hours than were common 25 years ago.
It appears that the Licensing committee has failed to get tough with breaches of licensing conditions (selling alcohol to those who are already drunk) although alcohol consumption on City Centre streets and parks is now banned. Those making representations to the committee against extended alcohol sales are usually ignored.
If York has enough outlets with licenses to sell alcohol – and it certainly appears to – then a presumption against increasing the number might be a start. But a drift towards 1920’s style Prohibition is not a palatable solution in a modern liberal society.
Individuals must take responsibility for their own actions.
Others blame the Council which appears to have imperceptibly changed its marketing strategy from “a City of Festivals” to “Party City” over the last few years
What the debate lacks is facts.
Just how many reports of drunken behaviour, and arrests for alcohol related offences, have taken place over the months and years and how does this compare to similar City’s elsewhere?
Are those responsible locals? Is it a relatively small number of individuals involved on a recurring basis?
What options are available?
The Council Leaders fail safe solution to any difficult problem is to call a “summit”.
Although those attending any such conference might get a warm (non alcoholic) glow from attending and exchanging opinions it will have little practical effect if research and public consultation is not undertaken first.
Cooler weather (and tempers) may buy the City a few months grace during which an anti alcohol abuse strategy can be developed.
NB. The Council has today published a study which claims that alcohol fuelled problems have reduced over the last 3 years. It claims that fewer people attending A&E are drunk!