Senior British police officers want private companies to charge for looking after drunks

British police chiefs say that privately run holding facilities should be used to look after the nations' drunks, and they should be charged for the care.

Chief Constable Adrian Lee, who speaks on alcohol policy for the Association of Chief Police officers, said Wednesday he didn't see why it was the responsibility of police or health workers to pay for the care of someone "who has chosen to go out and get so drunk that they cannot look after themselves."

Authorities have spent years debating how to curb Britain's relatively high rate of alcohol consumption. In England alone, one recent estimate pegged the cost of alcohol abuse at 12.6 billion pounds ($20.1 billion.)

But Britain's Police Federation, which represents rank-and-file officers, rejected what it described as "privately operated drunk tanks."