Background An ecological correlation has been observed between licensed premises and alcohol-related violence (ARV). In the UK to date, no evidence directly connects alcohol-related harm to a single premises type. Recent policies have called for a diversified alcohol offer, yet quantitative evidence in support remains sparse. This study aims to inform policy by determining whether diversification of the alcohol economy is desirable and to inform the licensing process and submission of public health evidence.
Methods Using 11 years of local licensing data from the London Borough of Southwark, alcohol availability over time was approximated by the number of extant alcohol licences, categorised by outlet type: drinking establishments, eateries, takeaways, off-sales and ‘other’. Harm was quantified drawing on law enforcement intelligence that recorded ARV. A linked data set was analysed using negative binomial regression, contrasting cumulative impact zones (CIZ)—a common alcohol control policy—with non-CIZ geographies.
Results Each licensed drinking establishment was associated with a 1.6% (95% CI 0.7% to 2.6%; p=0.001) increase in ARV, respectively. ‘Other’ outlets had a protective effect and were associated with a 1.8% (95% CI 1.0% to 2.5%; p<0.001) decrease in ARV.
Conclusion This study provides direct evidence for an association between alcohol-related harm and licensed premises. The varying associations between outlet type and ARV provide local public health stakeholders with an evidence base upon which to advocate for licensing policies that diversify alcohol availability.
- public health policy
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Contributors TB designed the study, conducted the statistical analyses and wrote the first draft of the manuscript. All authors contributed to the interpretation of results and subsequent manuscript drafts, and reviewed and approved the final version of the manuscript for publication.
Funding This research was supported by the National Institute for Health Research Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care Northwest London (NIHR CLAHRC NWL), now recommissioned as NIHR Applied Research Collaboration Northwest London. The views expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent for publication Not required.
Ethics approval Not required. Incidents of VAP were anonymised at the point of provision. Licensing data were in the public domain.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Data availability statement The licensing data set is in the public domain. Data requests should be addressed to the corresponding author. Violence data are not publically available and access is restricted by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS). Any requests for violence data should be made directly to the MPS.