THE Government has launched a new project today (Thursday, February 13) to tackle the harmful effects of excessive drinking.
Twenty areas across England and Wales are being set up as Local Alcohol Action Areas (LAAAs) to combat drink-fuelled crime and disorder and the damage caused to people’s health. Work in the LAAAs will also be focused on promoting diverse night time economies.
Crime Prevention Minister Norman Baker said: "The coalition government is taking a wide range of action to tackle alcohol-related harm, which is thought to cost society around £21 billion a year.
"We have already given local areas the power to restrict the sale of alcohol in the early hours and ensure those who profit from a late night licence help pay towards the costs of policing.
"The Local Alcohol Action Areas project I am launching today is another measure designed to tackle the problems caused by excessive alcohol use.
"In addition I am pressing the industry itself to take more responsibility for the problems that inappropriate use of their products cause.’’
Each action area will receive support and expertise from the Home Office, the Department of Health, the Welsh Government, Public Health England and Public Health Wales.
The LAAA areas will be put in touch with mentor areas that have successfully tackled the same issues faced by alcohol action areas.
Professor Kevin Fenton, Director of Health and Wellbeing at Public Health England, said: "Public Health England welcomes the launch of the Local Alcohol Action Areas and we are particularly pleased to see that most have chosen to include reducing alcohol related health harms as a key aim of their projects.
"Local areas have a range of measures at their disposal to improve individual and public health, as well as community safety.
"Between them, the areas announced today have the potential to build strong evidence of what works to tackle alcohol harms in the community. This is a high priority for PHE and we look forward to providing our support and expertise to the LAAAs."
The areas will see local agencies, including licensing authorities, health bodies and the police, work in partnership with businesses and other organisations to address the problems caused by alcohol.
Edward Kunonga, Director of Public Health at Middlesbrough Council, said: "Reducing alcohol-related harm is a local priority as it affects the health and well-being of individuals, families, community and the wider population.
"The Local Alcohol Action Areas will provide us with an opportunity for multi-agency working to improve the health and well-being of the Middlesbrough population.
"We welcome the support and the wealth of experience this project will bring from across the country in tackling this important issue."
Barry Coppinger, Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger said:
"We continually work with our partners to drive down alcohol-related violence which is a constant strain on policing resources, particularly in domestic incidents and also within the night time economy.
"We don’t want to see our area blighted by alcohol-fuelled violence and want residents to be able to enjoy an evening out without it being marred by alcohol-related offending."
Posted on Monday 17th February 2014