Cameron has vowed to battle drunkeness on the streets of Britain and has suggested introducing drunk tanks – into which rowdy troublemakers could be thrown until they sober up – as an extreme solution to the problem.
Drunk tanks are already widely used across Europe and in the US. The government’s new alcohol strategy suggests that “innovative solutions” are needed.
“Whether it’s the police officers in A&E that have been deployed in some hospitals, the booze buses in Soho and Norwich, or the drunk tanks used abroad, we need innovative solutions to confront the rising tide of unacceptable behaviour,” Cameron will say today.
“This isn’t just about more rules and regulation. It’s about responsibility and a sense of respect for others.”
The prime minister will also insist that bars, supermarkets and the drinks industry ensure responsible drinking is enforced.
He will back up calls for an overhaul in the way society deals with alcohol by citing figures that show alcohol misuse costs the NHS £2.7billion a year, including £1billion on accident and emergency services.
When road accidents, health problems, crime and lost productivity are taken into account the cost to society is put between £17billion and £22billion a year. That’s the equivalent of £90 for every taxpayer.
Last year, there were 200,000 alcohol-related hospital admissions, double the number in 2003.
“We’ve seen a frightening growth in the number of people – many under-age – who think it’s acceptable for people to get drunk in public in ways that wreck lives, spread fear and increase crime.
“This is one of the scandals of our society and I am determined to deal with it.”
What do you think – are drunk tanks a good idea?