Each week until polling day, the Widnes and Runcorn Weekly News is asking readers to submit a question for all of the candidates to answer. The third question was “Under-age drinking and anti-social behaviour are widely perceived as problems in Halton. What steps would you suggest to address these issues?”. My answer is below;
There is no doubt that these are major problems in Halton. I’ve seen that first-hand going out on patrol with Cheshire Police, and also talking with local residents who lives are blighted by anti-social behaviour. Labour has failed us in this area; whether through their lax licensing laws, or their approach to criminal justice, which has created plenty more laws but not any greater order.
These problems are symptoms of the broken society we need to tackle in Britain. To do this we need a “big society”, where change is led by people not the state. We need to back families and encourage responsibility. We don’t want a return to the old days where every pub shut at 11pm, but we need greater powers to tackle the under-age and binge-drinking that plague Widnes and Runcorn. We will overhaul the Licensing Act to give Halton Borough Council and Cheshire Police much stronger powers to remove licences from any premises that are causing problems, and we will raise taxes on drinks linked to anti-social drinking. A Conservative government will also scrap the bureaucracy that keeps police officers behind their desks when they should be on our streets fighting crime and challenging trouble-makers.