24-hour drinking apparently has little to no adverse effects on society as a whole, though at the same time brings no real benefits for the health or wellbeing of citizens, according to a new study carried out at Cambridge University.
Though far from a new phenomenon across many parts of the world, 24-hour alcohol sales were only made legal in the UK as of 2005 – a move that spurred a rather heated backlash from various health campaign groups.
The intention of the government was to prevent masses of drunk and desperate revelers emptying onto the streets at the end of prior bar and club licensing hours, which was known to be the cause of various alcohol-related crimes ranging from burglary to public indecency right through to murder.
By allowing venues to stay open for longer and enabling residents to buy their own alcohol from 24-hour stores, the government insisted the benefits would outweigh the negatives.
However, a few years down the line it has become apparent that little to no difference has been made to the rate alcohol-related crime across the UK with 24-hour licensing in effect. The authors of the study accuse the UK government of bringing in the new legislation on the back of “weak evidence that contradicted more credible and empirically supported theories about alcohol availability and harm”.
“Over the past decade, England and Wales have witnessed a series of political prevention initiatives for alcohol-related harm that have been implemented largely without evaluation or systematic appraisal,” said one of the study’s leaders Dr David Humphreys.
“This has resulted in missed opportunities to generate evidence, and a missed opportunity to learn, both of and from, any mistakes.”
The team behind the study is now urging the government and research groups to work more closely together when developing new and amending current legislation in order to work toward a result with at least some degree of public benefit.