There has been a sharp upsurge in violent crime on the UK’s railways according to the British Transport Police. The force found an increase in the amount of crime linked to alcohol consumption. The British Transport Police said that violent crime on the national rail network was up by 12% over last year and up 14% on the London Underground. It said that reported crime overall was down by 2%, however. Figures showed that violent crime was up in England and Wales, by 11% and 23% respectively, but was down in Scotland by 2%. Public order offences were up by 27%. The force also noted a higher incidence of perpetrators of crime being under the influence of alcohol, by approximately 30%. The figures triggered alarm that extended opening hours would stretch police resources because of both the longer periods over which the pubs would be open, and added violence caused by heavier drinking. However, the government remained resolute, insisting that the new licensing regime would help, not hinder, the battle against binge drinking and alcohol fuelled crime. A spokesman for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport said: "Flexible opening hours will reduce the need to speed drink. It will end the double madness of people gulping two or three rounds of drinks to beat last orders and then all being thrown out onto the streets at the same time."