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The Licensing Act 2003, five years on: taking stock and stumbling into the future

Andrew Newton (The Applied Criminology Centre, University of Huddersfield, UK)

Safer Communities

ISSN: 1757-8043

Article publication date: 31 January 2011


This paper will reflect on the impact of the Licensing Act 2003 (LA03). It will focus primarily on how the LA03 has been introduced to, and has influenced, the night‐time economy (NTE). More specifically, it will examine the impact of the LA03 on alcohol‐related crime, disorder and harm to health, within an urban context. It will review the evidence base for the impact of the LA03, suggesting reasons why the UK experience of extended trading hours is not consistent with international evidence. It will examine the mixed findings from evaluations as to its success/failures/limited influence, and discuss its impact on a number of organisations involved in the promotion and safety of the NTE. It will highlight the continued struggles encountered within the NTE, between the promotion of an enjoyable and profitable NTE, and those who have responsibility for maintaining a safe NTE environment. It will also discuss potential extraneous factors that have superseded the LA03, before concluding by offering and discussing some possible avenues for future direction.



Newton, A. (2011), "The Licensing Act 2003, five years on: taking stock and stumbling into the future", Safer Communities, Vol. 10 No. 1, pp. 20-30.



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