To counter the potential social and health problems arising from the 24-hour sale of alcohol, the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act (PRSRA) 2011 provided and expanded the power of licensing authorities to impose Early Morning Restriction Orders (EMROs) and Late Night Levies (LNLs) on alcohol vendors within a local vicinity, as part of the Government’s Alcohol Strategy. EMROs enable a licensing authority to prohibit the sale of alcohol for a specified time period between the hours of 12am and 6am in the whole or part of its area, if it is satisfied that this would be appropriate for the promotion of the licensing objectives. So far, licensing authorities have been reluctant to make use of these extra powers; (to date) no EMROs and only a handful of LNLs have been approved.
On occasion, the Secretary of State for the Home Office may make an order relaxing licensing hours for licensed premises during events of “exceptional national significance”. This order was enacted for the England football team’s matches during the 2014 World Cup, the first time such a power was used for a sports event. This step was opposed by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC), Local Government Association (LGA), the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH), the National Organisation of Residents Associations (NORA), and the Alcohol Health Alliance (AHA). These organisations argued that licensing authorities are best placed to make decisions about which premises should be allowed to stay open late and that with a national relaxation, councils and the police would not have a definitive picture of which premises intend to open later, making effective public safety planning much harder.
Opening hours for the trading of alcohol on licensed premises have been extended on 2 other occasions since the introduction of the 2003 Licensing Act: 1) the Royal Wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in 2011 and; 2) the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012.