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Published:  23 July, 2008

A study published by the Portman Group dismisses claims that 70-80% of late night violence in town centres is alcohol-related as quite meaningless'. The Social Issues Research Centre in Oxford said that it discovered: - over a quarter of police forces keep no records of alcohol-related crime at all, and seven out of ten of these forces have no intention of doing so; - only one in ten police forces keep data which is capable of being compared directly with any others; - accident and emergency consultants are divided on the extent to which alcohol contributes to injuries, with the highest estimates coming from hospitals with the weakest recording procedures; and - fewer than one in twenty town or city centre managers keep records of alcohol-related violence. Dr Peter Marsh, who led the research, said: We have been unable to discover any extant procedures that can provide anything more than rough indications of the level and pattern of alcohol-related violence and disorder in even the most localised contexts. All existing procedures, in our view, have such serious conceptual and methodological weaknesses that they are unable to provide truly objective and reliable data,' said Marsh. Portman Group director Jean Coussins said: It is self-evident that alcohol-related crime is a problem. But the Government will stand no chance whatsoever of knowing how best to prevent it, or whether it is getting better or worse, unless it helps to sort out the chaos of record-keeping by police, hospitals and local authorities.' The report, Counting the Cost: The measurement and recording of alcohol-related violence and disorder, can be read on the group's website: