New late-night licensing laws have been proclaimed a success by the Government after a Midland force said it dealt with fewer incidents of drunken violence this New Year.
But Conservatives said the reduction was a result of a £2.5 million crackdown which put more officers on the streets.
Staffordshire Police took part in a six-week campaign involving local councils and pub companies to fight drink-related crime over Christmas and the New Year. Tactics included deploying high visibility police patrols all night long.
As a result, the force said cases of drink-fuelled violence fell to 702 from 755 in the same six weeks a year earlier. There was also a seven per cent drop in the number of anti-social behaviour incidents dealt with by the force - down from 6,080 to 5,661.
But the number of £80 on-the-spot fines issues by police for drunken behaviour was up from 244 to 382.
Across England and Wales as a whole, the number of violent crimes over the Christmas period fell by 11 per cent.
Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell said: "Thanks to the new licensing laws, the police and local authorities have joined forces to use tougher powers to deal with the problem at the source."
But David Davis, the Shadow Home Secretary, said: "These figures are a result of a six-week crack down on violence which cost £2.5 million - what happens when this money runs out?"