George Tyndale : Night-time courts to deal with the binge-drinkers
The Home Office is inviting us to be shocked and amazed that the number of women fined for being drunk and disorderly has risen by a third in the past three years.
What we should be outraged about is that the numbers aren't even HIGHER.
The statistics show that total number of females who paid a penalty for being legless reached just 7,930 in twelve months.
That's a mere 21 a night for the entire nation.
An enthusiastic young copper could find that many female drunks in any town centre on any Friday night.
The picture is similarly dismal for males. Just 112 picked up each night across the whole of the UK.
And equally depressing is the punishment they get. The vast majority will stagger away with a fixed penalty of just ÃÂ£80.
They've probably spent at least half that much in the previous few hours.
Yet being drunk and disorderly under the Criminal Justice Act 1967 can carry a fine of up to ÃÂ£1,000.
But, of course, presenting the helplessly boozed-up with a punishment they might find sobering involves a mountain of paperwork for the police and a costly court appearance.
If we really want to do something other than be shocked and amazed about the binge-drinking menace then it's time our communities got round to thinking about special courts - sitting at night if necessary - and dedicated squads of coppers to drag the drunks off the streets.
A month-long blitz ought to be enough to convince those with at least some remnants of intelligence that it is better to stay standing upright than face a night in the cells and a fine of, say, ÃÂ£800.
At present the irresponsible, idiotic and anti-social sozzled are facing consequences that do not even last as long as their hangover.