Leeds nostalgia: October 1988: New pub opening hours lead to dramatic fall in assaults

Leeds, 22nd August 1988

The Regent, Regent Street, Chapel Aleerton.
Leeds, 22nd August 1988 The Regent, Regent Street, Chapel Aleerton.
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Pub licensing laws changed, meaning they no longer had to close from 3pm to 5.30pm and police in Leeds said this had resulted in a dramatic fall in violent crime in the city centre.

According to official figures, cases of assault and other violent offences were down by a whopping 87 per cent following the change in opening hours, which enabled pubs to remain open all day.

Detailed statistics showed there were 23 city centre assaults between 3pm and 5.30pm in the fortnight before the rule change and just three in the two weeks immediately after.

But police were reluctant to draw conclusions, with Chief Insp David Simmons cautioning: “While there has been this trend in early days, we are not yet ready to draw positive conclusions and are continuing to monitor the situation.”

Publicans across Leeds welcomed the extension and said it had made a huge difference to trade. The new opening hours for pubs, from 11am to 11pm, came into effect on August 22.

The Licensing Act 1988 replaced the Licensing Act 1964, which itself replaced the 1912 Act. Licenses were first brought in in 1872 to control the gin trade.

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