It is well known that alcohol consumption is a risk factor for violence, and that young people are at risk of both perpetration and victimisation after drinking alcohol. To some extent this is due to the pharmacological properties of alcohol, but research also demonstrates that aggression can be prompted by the mere belief that one has drunk alcohol. This can be attributed to cultural scripts, or commonly-held beliefs concerning accepted behavioural patterns.
Although alcohol-related disorder in public space is a long-standing problem throughout the UK, in recent years this issue has become much more policy relevant. Whether or not current concerns about the ‘binge drinking’ phenomenon are fully justified, there is no doubt that alcohol-related problems in the night-time economy are widespread, bringing many negative consequences not only for those directly involved, but also for the taxpayer, the licence trade industry, the industry’s employees, the law-abiding patrons of licensed premises, the emergency services and the public at large.
Bars, inns, taverns and hotels have been popular settings for recreational alcohol consumption for centuries. The bar is firmly established as an important adjunct of leisure in many societies. Alcohol consumption in bars is mainly convivial, restrained and problem-free. Even so it has long been apparent that heavy drinking in bars is associated with aggression, violence, public disorder and injuries. A review was conducted to identify factors associated with high and low levels of intoxication, aggression, public disorder, crime, under-age drinking and injuries in and near public bars and licensed clubs and to identify priorities for reducing the levels of problems associated with licensed premises.
Alcohol and violent crime are certainly associated. People who have committed a violent crime are often intoxicated when they commit the crime, however, this relationship can be understood in two ways. Does alcohol intoxication causes aggression or do people with an aggressive predisposition tend to misuse alcohol?