The Home Office has refuted claims in national newspapers that alcohol-fuelled crime has spiralled out of control since the start of the new licensing regime last November.
The Daily Mail, among others, claimed arrests for drink-related offences had jumped 86% in six months, and had more than doubled since Christmas 2004.
But, a spokeswoman for the Home Office questioned the methodology used to arrive at the percentage increase.
She added that although police had been urged to record drink-related offences in this and the previous Alcohol Misuse Enforcement Campaign it was still a subjective process, with the 36,470 offences recorded from 8 May to 8 June not exclusively acts of alcohol-related violence.
Arrests for drunk and disorderly behaviour during the most recent enforcement campaign actually fell compared with the previous one (14 November to 31 December 2005) from 5,645 to 4,278.
However, test purchases carried out during the most recent campaign revealed one in three minors taking part were able to get served in pubs and bars, with one in five having success at supermarkets.
Rob Hayward, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association said: "Progress has been made in bringing down test purchase failures from 45% to 29% since summer 2005. However, we recognise more needs to be done."
By Chris Druce