Drunk and Disorderly

The UK areas with the most arrests for anti-social behaviour

With the country’s nighttime economy in full swing once again, some people are liable to take it too far and get on the wrong side of the law.

The men’s healthcare experts at FROM MARS have sent out Freedom of Information requests to police forces across the UK to find out which areas have the highest number of arrests for public drunkenness during peak partying times.

This is broken down by biggest increases and decreases, highest total, and number of arrests per 100,000 of the county population.  

The Area With The Highest Total Arrests in 2020

Serving more than eight million people across 620 square miles of the UK capital and policing over 3,500 public events in 2016 alone, it’s no surprise the oldest modern police force in England, the Metropolitan Police Service, recorded the highest total arrests for this period with 17,277 apprehended for the public order offences.

The Met has also topped the list for public drunkenness arrests in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019. Despite having the highest total for these years, the number of public drunkenness arrests has decreased in London from 2016-2020 by 9%.

The fact the Met Police have the highest total could be because of their scheme to partner with local businesses and councils across London to combat challenges in the nighttime economy such as drunk and disorderly behaviour, leading to increasingly more arrests.

Added to this is the fact that they police a larger number of people than other police services.

The Area With The Highest Total Arrests per 100,000 People

The police service with the most arrests for this category was Northumbria, with 785 arrests per 100,000 people.

This could be due to the fact that the North East has one of the highest volumes of off-trade alcohol sales in the country, suggesting a high level of alcohol consumption and therefore increasing the likelihood of arrests for drunk and disorderly behaviour.

The high crime rate could also be due to increased PSCSO powers in this region to issue penalties for public drunkenness.

The Area With The Lowest Total Arrests per 100,000 People

West Midlands Police ranked lowest in our findings, with 13 arrests per 100,000 population.

The second-largest police force in the country covers an area of 248 square miles and deals with 2,000 emergency calls every day.

The reason for this low rate of arrests could be the force’s use of dispersal orders to discourage anti-social behaviour such as public drunkenness as well as using community resolutions to deal with low-level offences without resorting to formal criminal justice sanctions.

The Area With The Biggest Increase In Arrests 2016-2020

Bedfordshire Police tops the list with an increase in arrests of 95% between 2016 and 2020.

Despite being responsible for one of England’s smallest counties and with a total of 1,191 officers and 972 police staff, this police service faces similar challenges to that of larger cities due to its proximity to the capital, which could explain its rise in public drunkenness arrests.

Added to this, the local authorities in towns such as Bedford have acknowledged the high concentration of pubs and bars in the area has changed the character of the town leading to the need for police to crack down on drunk and disorderly behaviour. 

The Area With The Biggest Decrease In Arrests 2016-2020

Leicestershire Police has a jurisdiction of 965 square miles and serves over a million people.

The force also has nine neighbourhood policing areas headed by Inspectors to ensure a 24-hour policing service and takes a proactive approach to crime.

In 2019 they regularly targeted key areas in cities such as Leicester for public order offences, using stop and search protocol to confiscate alcohol, as well as signposting addiction services to vulnerable individuals.

These crime reduction tactics could be the reason this police service has the biggest decrease, with a 73% drop in arrests between 2016 and 2020, resulting in 69 arrests for 2020, down from 251 in 2016 although this low result could also be attributed to the COVID lockdown and the extended local lockdown in Leicester.


To answer the questions around the topic, we sent Freedom of Information requests to British Police forces for the number of arrests made for public drunkenness in the years 2016-2020. Using this data we were able to calculate trends in arrests and compare the police services against each other.