MP blames alchohol for rising crime

DEBATE is needed about the availability of alcohol and its effects on crime levels, an MP has said, after shocking statistics were released.

Annie Davidson

By Annie Davidson

DEBATE is needed about the availability of alcohol and its effects on crime levels, an MP has said, after shocking statistics were released.

Douglas Carswell, , MP for Harwich Constituency spoke out after Essex Police's mapping website highlighted the 20% rise in crime in tranquil Frinton compared to the same time the previous year.

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In Holland-on-Sea and the east part of Clacton, crime had gone up by 22% and in Jaywick there was a rise of 34.8%.

Mr Carswell yesterday called for a “grown-up debate” about crime and police priorities, as well as how much crime was linked to alcohol.

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He said: “What I find disturbing isn't simply the increase, but the extraordinary variation within a relatively small geographical area.

“In Harwich and Dovercourt there were 58 crimes each month last year and in Frinton, 23, yet in west Clacton there were 193.

“Violence and anti-social behaviour seem to account for the lion's share of local crime in our area.

“For example, these figures show just how much local crime is violence and anti-social behaviour - much of it, I suspect, alcohol related.

“Maybe crime mapping will encourage us to have a local debate about the impact of alcohol on crime - and look at its availability.

“We can't expect the police to deliver lower crime rates without also looking at the impact of alcohol.

“If crime mapping means we start to have this debate, then it'll be a step forward.”

The figures compare September, October and November 2007 with the same months of 2008.

Mr Carswell warned that caution had to be applied to the figures because areas of very low crime would show a huge percentage increase but continue to have a low crime rate.

But he added: “These are shocking figures - a 22% crime increase is pretty dramatic and I am not looking to excuse that, and increase in Jaywick is pretty serious.

“But we can't just dump this at the door of the police - we collectively need to look at this and have a grown up debate about what can be done to reduce crime.”

An Essex Police spokesman said: “The figures are still low when compared with other parts of the country.

“The levels of violence are still too high, a significant proportion is committed by people visiting the area from Suffolk and London.

“We are aware of it and are working with British Transport Police.

“Crime rates are low but we are still doing everything we can to drive it down.”

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