Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland Barry Coppinger is calling for a rethink on a minimum unit for pricing of alcohol following a recent week of action to raise awareness of the harm caused by alcohol.
The Government announced in July that it had dropped plans to introduce the measure, which is proven to save lives, cut crime and reduce hospital admissions.
September saw a week of action by police forces nationally to highlight the dangers posed by alcohol and included operations such as the deployment of street pastors, knife arch deployments and passive drugs dog operations.
Officers and licensing colleagues continued work with the licensed trade and door staff in a bid to reduce underage drinking and alcohol associated violence, with Pub Watch meetings arranged to emphasise the importance of not selling to anyone under 18 or who may already have had too much to drink.
PCC for Cleveland, Barry Coppinger, said: “The amount of effort and resource that goes into tackling alcohol-related crime has been demonstrated by all the recent activity.
“The fact the Government has done a u-turn on introducing a minimum unit of pricing is putting pressure on public services which are already being squeezed by the cuts.
“While in Cleveland, there is strong partnership working in place to tackle the issues, it doesn’t solve the problem of cheap alcohol on sale.
“I’d ask the Government to seriously have a rethink about its decision. It’s creating unnecessary problems for now and for generations to come.”
Colin Shevills, Director of Balance, said: “Cheap alcohol is having an impact on every part of our society – and policing is no different. It is costing our forces in terms of time, expenditure and vital resources – it is also putting officers at risk.
“We know that our sense of frustration is shared by the region’s public, its health community and police officers. It’s not hard to see why, with an estimated 61,000 alcohol related crimes in Cleveland in 2011/12 alone and eight in 10 officers having been the victim of an alcohol related assault.
“A minimum unit price for alcohol is a measure proven to reduce alcohol harm. Its introduction would make a great deal of difference in the North East, not only benefitting our police force but also our health service, economy and communities by saving thousands of lives, reducing hospital admissions and drastically cutting crime.”
Posted on Monday 30th September 2013