Police should do A&E 'spot checks' and fine binge drinkers 'hogging' services
Police should arrive unannounced at accident and emergency departments to fine individuals who misuse medical services due to alcohol intake, a campaigner has said.
The number of on-the-spot fines handed out to those under the influence in London has decreased since 2005, but Conservative London Assembly member Tony Arbour has called for them to be used as a stealth weapon.
“We need to urgently crack down on bingers who repeatedly hog our A&Es”
He also wants the current penalty of £90 to be doubled to £180.
The assembly member for London South West said: “We need to urgently crack down on bingers who repeatedly hog our A&Es and take up police time because they can’t handle their drink.
“They are costing the capital millions of pounds and denying treatment and care to those who really need the help,” he said.
“Not only should we double fines for drunkenness to £180, but the police should randomly go into A&Es on trouble nights and slap the penalties on these people,” he added.
According to figures that Mr Arbour obtained from Scotland Yard under the Freedom of Information Act, the number of fines issued for drunk and disorderly has decreased in recent years.
In 2013, a total of 2,063 PNDs (penalty notice for disorder) were issued, down from 2,445 the previous year and 3,056 in 2005.
Alcohol-related admissions cost hospitals in London tens of millions of pounds per year.
Mr Arbour has written to the home secretary and the justice secretary outlining his plans, and has tabled a motion at the London Assembly this morning.
In his letter, he said: “Having police forces randomly attend A&Es on the worst drinking nights of the year and, with the help of the A&E staff, fine those causing the most disruption would be a vital step to reduce this stress on the NHS.”