Leader: Edinburgh has had a few too many warnings

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not for the first time, our front page today contains a warning from the police about the over-provision of alcohol in the city centre.

Chief Superintendent Mark Williams is the latest to stress the link between booze and violent crime as he looks at figures showing another rise in attacks in the city.

Some may say, of course, that this is simply an easy target for the force; a neat way to explain an awkward statistic. Others will maintain there is no proven correlation between the number of licensed premises and the amount of antisocial behaviour on our streets.

In truth, the argument is over. A walk through certain city streets at 2am will give you all the evidence you need.

Ch Supt Williams suggests we need a conversation in the city about how to maintain the balance between the night-time economy and the safety of the public. This he says is on a “knife-edge”.

We have to agree.

Everyone appreciates the value of our pubs and clubs to the economy of the city and we would never support a move which would harm the Capital’s appeal to visitors.

There is a limit, however, and Edinburgh has perhaps had a few too many.

It’s not just the number of pubs and clubs – making alcohol available on every street corner sends out a message that as a society we think it’s normal to buy it and consume it regularly.

Tackling over-provision in itself may have a negligible impact on crime statistics but the message that it sends – that we are serious about addressing this issue – is far stronger.

Ch Supt Williams has today reignited the debate which we hope will finally lead to a robust strategy on licensing.

It is an issue which is not going to go away and has been hanging over the city for too long. In short, it’s time to sober up.