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More drinking time equals more arrests.

Alcohol-related arrests are likely to increase after more relaxed licensing laws come into force, Ministers have warned.

Tougher action against disorderly pubs, bars and clubs could lead to more premises being fined, Home Office Minister Paul Goggins said.

Stronger police powers could lead to more arrests for alcohol-related offences.

The Home Office has said 5,500 sting operations will take place in the run-up to Christmas in a bid to catch retailers who sell alcohol to minors, including 224 in the West Midlands.

Mr Goggins said: "If we spend pounds 2.5 million increasing the strength of enforcement and funding police to do it, it is likely that the number of arrests and fixed penalty notices will go up."

He added: "We want to see alcohol-related violence and disorder decreased and we are determined to get a grip on it."

A review of the issues surrounding the new licensing laws will be launched by a set of independent scrutiny councils on Thursday, Mr Purnell added.

Both the British Beer and Pub Association and the British Institute of Innkeeping have said that some of their members have 24-hour licences but do not intend to stay open round the clock.

l Drunken revellers celebrating the introduction of the new licensing laws will be able to sleep off the booze at a makeshift all night clinic on Newcastle's historic Quayside.

Up to 50 people will be able to crash on stretchers, trolleys or the floor at the centre every Friday and Saturday night
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Nov 23, 2005
Words:250
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