Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

MINISTERS AND INDUSTRY JOIN FORCES TO CUT ALCOHOL MENACE

  • Comment
Key players in the alcohol industry today joined forces with the prime ...
Key players in the alcohol industry today joined forces with the prime

minister, Hazel Blears, Richard Caborn and Melanie Johnson to discuss ways

of reducing the alcohol-fuelled violence which has become a regular feature

of town and city centres at weekend closing times.

Alcohol abuse is extremely harmful to individuals and communities - almost

half of all violent crime is related to alcohol, around 70 per cent of

weekend A&E admissions are drink-related, alcohol abuse results in 17

million lost working days, 150,000 hospital admissions and costs the

taxpayer around£20bn each year.

The government's Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategy, published earlier this

year, aims to tackle the minority of drinkers who cause problems. A key part

of that strategy is working in partnership with the industry.

In addition, the Licensing Act will lead to a more civilised and responsible

culture in the country's pubs, bars and restaurants. It is a key plank of

the government's drive to cut down on crime and anti-social behaviour.

Today's meeting is part of ongoing joint work to find practical ideas and

solutions to reduce the impact of alcohol abuse.

Mr Blair said:

'Millions of people drink alcohol responsibly every day.

No-one wants to stop that pleasure. But there is a clear and growing problem

on our town and city centre streets up and down the country on Friday and

Saturday nights. At a time when overall crime is falling alcohol related

violent crime is rising. New powers are there. They need to be used. As a

society we must make sure that binge drinking does not become the new

British Disease.

'There should be safe and enjoyable drinking for the

majority and zero tolerance of the anti-social minority.'

Home Office minister and sponsor of the government's alcohol harm reduction

strategy, Hazel Blears, said:

'Crime trends are changing. The crimes which have

traditionally concerned people the most, such as property and vehicle crime,

continue to fall but have been replaced in the public's mind by violent

crime. Nearly half of all violent crime is alcohol related.

'The government, police, local authorities and the alcohol

industry are all determined to tackle the alcohol fuelled violence and

anti-social behaviour, which one in four people say is a problem in their

area.

'This summer, in consultation with the drinks industry, we

will launch a police led campaign to cut down on under-age drinking and the

chaotic drink-fuelled scenes often found in our town and city centres at

closing time. This will not be a one off blitz, but the start of a very long

campaign through which we hope to cut violence and make people act more

responsibly.'

Licensing minister Richard Caborn said:

'We need to work in partnership to tackle the problems

alcohol can cause and ensure our town and city centres at night are safe,

vibrant places we can all enjoy.

'The Licensing Act is an essential element in our drive to

achieve this. It will end fixed closing times and put in place tough new

powers to crack down on the irresponsible behaviour of a minority. The Act,

like the Strategy, puts alcohol licensing at the heart of local policies to

make sure it meets the needs of the local community. Today's meeting is an

important part of that process.'

Melanie Johnson, public health minister, said:

'Alcohol-related injuries and illness costs the health

service nearly£2bn every year as well as the personal cost to

individuals, families and communities. By working closely with the alcohol

industry we can have a co-ordinated approach to combat these problems. This

will also feed in to the Public Health White Paper which will be published

in the summer.'

Notes

1. The government published its Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategy for

England on 15 March 2004. Copies of the strategy can be found at

www.strat egy.gov.uk/files/pdf/al04SU.pdf

2. The strategy puts joint action at the heart of a series of measures

which will:

* tackle alcohol-related disorder in town and city centres

* improve treatment and support for people with alcohol problems

* clamp down on irresponsible promotions by the industry

* provide better information to consumers about the dangers of alcohol

misuse

3. Hazel Blears announced that this summer, the Police Standards Unit

will lead an enforcement campaign (teamed with ACPO) to cut down on alcohol

fuelled violence and target the irresponsible few who encourage underage and

binge drinking. See Home Office press notice 164/2004.

4. On 10 July, the Licensing Act 2003 received Royal Assent. The new

Act provides a balanced package of freedoms and safeguards. It will clamp

down on crime, disorder and anti-social behaviour perpetrated by a minority

and give the responsible majority more freedom and choice about how they

spend their leisure time.

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.