Saturday, 27 April 2013

Time to Clean up the Drunks

This country has an epidemic of the kind we haven't seen since the Gin riots of the 18th Century. Our town centres and high streets are plagued by the presence of drunks cruising in what can be best described as gangs from bar to bar or staggering down alone in search of a local takeaway.

Tonight I was a subject of the abuse many thousands of decent UK residents face every week as they navigate our town centres in the evening either off to socialise with friends themselves or while making their own way home. Being transgender the abuse was the typical transphobic hate filled vileness that no one should be subject too not least someone stood quietly waiting to catch a bus home. However whether discriminatory or simply vile abuse this description of distressing incident on our streets is all too common in Britain today.

Over the last decade we have seen the continue decline in the respectability of our city and town centres as spaces to be enjoyed in the evening and at weekends. We have also seen a rapid increase in the amount of abuse, assaults and anti social beahviour that have left our streets as no go areas to  many people who don't consider drinking binges the best way to spend a Friday night or Weekend.

The disaster zone thou doesn't just stop there, not only are our streets filling up with drunks and abusive behaviour so are our hospitals and A & E departments. Heaven forbid you are the subject of a sporting injury or accident at home on a Saturday night as you will face the gauntlet that is your local Accident and Emergency Department. Every Friday and Saturday night thousands of dedicated medical professionals deal with the aftermath of UK binge drinking culture and the violent effects and behaviour of many who partake in this damaging past time. They have to deal with threats, abuse, assaults and patients running amok while all the time trying to deliver the high quality healthcare we have come to expect from the NHS.

All of this costs the UK tax payer and public billions and billions of pounds. Crime cost estimates range from over the £11 billion figure and the cost to the NHS from over £3 billion. In a time when we are counting the pennies and tightening the belt we can ill afford to allow this blatant abuse of public funds and impact on the UK economy to continue. Not to mention its the very victims of the anti social behaviour experienced on our streets who themselves are having to contribute towards allowing it to continue.

Government policy to date instead of tackling this problem head on has instead facilitated its continuation and escalation. From relaxing of licensing restrictions, introduction of 24 hour drinking and police policy of managing city centres instead of zero tolerance approach has meant that we are now at the stage we last faced as a country during the Gin riots of the 18th century.

But it doesn't have to be this way. We have a conservative lead government and as a party we have a long history of tackling crime and delivering strong criminal justice policy this is what we as conservatives should be focusing our attention on. No more "tough talking" or "police campaigns" we need radical new policy that will tackle this issue and make our city centres safe once again for all of us living in the UK.

Firstly I call on the government to introduce £1000 surcharges for everyone convicted of drunk and disorderly offences to be deducted immediately from convicted person's benefits or wages directly, no exceptions. This surcharge should be on top of any other court sanctions and fines and is to go towards funding the immense bill alcohol related mayhem places on the UK tax payer every year, its time we made those to blame and not the victims pay for this mess.

Secondly I call on the government to introduce 1 strike and your out anti social behaviour zones for anyone convicted of being drunk and disorderly for an automatic 1 year from all license premises all day and from all UK city centres after the hours of 7 pm. This will show help to reclaim our streets from those determined to continue to cause mayhem week after week. We need to come down hard to ensure this isn't a policy that can be ignored the impact is too great to our communities.

Finally we need to put an end to this policy of "managed city centres" where numerous offences of drunk and disorderly and premises serving "drunk customers" is ignored. We need to bring back properly restricted licensing rules and build drunk tanks in all our UK city centres separate custody suites that are safely managed but reduce the red tape and paper work needed for police officers to arrest those committing the offence of drunk and disorderly on our streets. We need to introduce a policy that no amount of causing disorder due to alcohol will be "let off" and start clearing up the streets of people who are determined to cause suffering and give abuse to others. This would make a significant difference to the state of our streets and start to reset the balance towards the rights and freedom of respectable UK residents to walk in their own city and town centre's over the rights of drunks to abuse and carry out continued anti social behaviour every week.

This is an issue that is coming to a head and one that would make a difference to the lives of millions of hard working UK citizens who simply want to not have to worry about walking home at night or those who want to enjoy respectfully a nice peaceful night out. Instead of worrying over policies such as a snoopers charter and worrying over the sentencing of ex government ministers for speeding this is a real criminal justice issue the government should and must deal with I urge them to listen to me and millions of others and do so.

Its time to clean up our streets.