This morning Boris Johnson has announced a new policy of banning alcohol on the London Underground.
“London has a higher rate of alcohol-related crimes than any other region in England and I have been told time and again that people are scared of taking the Underground late at night because of aggressive behaviour by drunken yobs.Too many people find themselves forced to sit opposite someone swigging from a can of lager and engaging in behaviour that is intimidating or worse. I want everyone’s journeys to be safer and more pleasant"
Public disorder offences on the Tube increased 32.2% last year, criminal damage was up by 36.9% and sexual offences were up by 14.9%. British Transport Police Chief Constable Ian Johnston said in 2005 that there had been an increase in alcohol related crimes on public transport; "We flag crimes that have an alcohol connection. So if we arrest a burglar or a robber who's drunk we flag the crime. And we've had about a 30% increase in that level of flagging across the force over the last year."
As a liberal Conservative I instinctively recoil from banning things. However, is it liberal to allow tube users to be abused by drunken louts? No, definitely not. I think this policy will be welcomed by many as long as it is policed properly.