Reducing crime was never an aim of Scotland’s minimum alcohol pricing

From the above today:

Jon Bannister, a criminology professor at Manchester Metropolitan University, said the reduction in the quantity of alcohol bought has had “minimal impact on the levels of alcohol-related crime, disorder and public nuisance reported in Scotland”.

Offences in each area were already found to be going down prior to the introduction of MUP.

“On the whole, the limited discernible impact of MUP on alcohol-related crime, disorder and public nuisance suggests that the reduction in off-trade alcohol sales that followed implementation is below that required to deliver a reduction in crime,” Prof Bannister added.

“Or, if crime did reduce, it has done so at a scale that the evaluation could not identify”.

In the Scottish Government’s minimum alcohol pricing rationale, the word ‘crime’ does not appear, even once, but ‘death’ is central:

Modelling estimates that over the first five-year period of minimum unit pricing there will be:

  • 400 fewer alcohol-related deaths
  • 8,000 fewer alcohol-related hospital admissions

At full effect, after 20 years, there will be:

  • 120 fewer alcohol-related deaths per year
  • 2,000 fewer alcohol-related hospital admissions per year

Evidence shows that as alcohol becomes more affordable, drinking and alcohol-related harm increases, and that one of the best ways to reduce the amount of cheap alcohol drunk by people in any country is by making alcohol less affordable. Affordability is one of the three World Health Organization ‘best buys’ for preventing alcohol-related harm, and is embedded into its SAFER initiative which aims to reduce death, disease and injuries caused by the harmful use of alcohol through using high-impact, evidence-based, cost-effective interventions.

The BBC Report does mention other research revealing a notable fall in the alcohol death rate, the overriding aim of the initiative. Success?

And, the minimal impact on crime, a bonus?

Who in their right research mind would have thought that minimum pricing was going to affect the small number of bams carrying out crimes while drunk. They’re bams; they get the drink as bams do.

What is the point of the MMU (Micky Mouse University?) research? Some readers will groan when I insist on my own research credentials but researching a public policy initiative and discovering that it does not achieve something it did not set out to achieve? FAIL!

6 thoughts on “Reducing crime was never an aim of Scotland’s minimum alcohol pricing




    Liked by 2 people

  2. I guess there must be a number of English Universities that are attracted by UK Gov funding on the basis they conduct at least one research project to undermine the Scot Gov in the knowledge their findings, no matter how irrelevant, will headline on BBC Scotland. This one will surely make the Nobel prize short list in the ‘pointless’ category if there was one.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. For context, from the Scottish Crime and Justice Survey 2019/20 published on 16 March 2021:

    ( )

    ‘Offenders were believed to be under the influence of alcohol in 44% of violent incidents where victims were able to say something about the offender in 2019/20. This figure is LOWER than the estimate in 2008/09 (63%) and 2018/19 (59%). Alcohol remains a factor in a sizeable proportion of violent incidents and it will be important to monitor this in future to see if a similar trend is continued.’ (my emphasis)

    ‘… in 2019/20 it was found that offenders were believed to be under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs in just over half (55%) of violent incidents where the victims were able to say something about the offender. This is a DECREASE on both the proportion in 2008/09 (68%) and 2018/19 (78%). This will be an area to monitor in the future.’

    And while on this subject, from the same source: ‘The volume of crime in Scotland, including incidents not reported to the police, has FALLEN by 46% since 2008/09. Most adults did not experience crime in 2019/20. The proportion of adults experiencing crime has DECREASED from one-in-five to one-in-eight between 2008/09 and 2019/20.’

    ‘Since 2008/09 property crime has almost HALVED (down 49%) whilst violent crime has FALLEN by 39% over the same time period.’

    ‘Consistent with previous years, the majority of violent incidents were cases of minor assault resulting in no or negligible injury (73%), with instances of serious assault (6%) and robbery (5%) remaining relatively uncommon.’

    ‘The SCJS estimates that the proportion of adults experiencing crime has FALLEN from around one-in-five in 2008/09 (20.4%) to one-in-eight in 2019/20 (11.9%).’

    There is never room for complacency and the situation is not (and never can be) ‘perfect’, but this is a record since 2008/09 well worth talking up!

    Liked by 5 people

  4. ‘Evaluation did not identify’. Poor, bad research. A get out clause. Not factoring in all the relevant information.

    Crime has reduced. Consumption has gone down. So has hospital admissions. Deaths down. Rehab facilities were not maintained. So there is no proper comparison. Or death, crime and deaths would have reduced further. By a higher figure. Cybercrime has increased.

    Funding has now gone in to proper, total abstinence, rehab. £50Million a year. £250million over five years. That will make a difference. Along with MUP make a bigger difference. Not comparing like with like. Poor research and conclusion. Just using figures but not interconnecting figures and relevant details. Ignorant and arrogant. A pandemic skews results. One in a lifetime.


  5. In my detailed research over the last 10 minutes I can demonstrate that a Bam getting drunk on cheap alcohol and a Bam getting drunk on more expensive alcohol will completely ignore the intended consequences of the Minimum Price Alcohol legislation .
    They have little or no sense of public responsibility and have been known to breach other Government legislation without pausing to ponder the consequences .

    Some of these Bams have more than a passing acquaintance with research projects which have won awards for stating the bleeding obvious in their conclusions .

    Liked by 1 person

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