In the Media

In Focus: Alcohol Harm

PUBLISHED September 18, 2013

Police forces have launched a week-long campaign highlighting the realities faced by those dealing with drunkenness and alcohol-related incidents.

In Focus: Alcohol Harm initiative will see forces out on the streets with mobile custody suites and medical triage facilities to deal with the drunk and disorderly.

Neighbourhood policing teams, special constables, police cadets and volunteers such as street pastors will be deployed in drinking hotspots.

Police will be addressing new students at fresher's weeks on staying safe and providing awareness training on vulnerability with security and bar staff.

There will be age ID checks, drug swabbing and drink-drive operations. Licensing teams are working with partners conducting test purchasing operations for shops and bars and visiting problem venues.

Forces will also be tweeting their day to day activities tackling alcohol harm in the communities they serve.

The campaign, launched to coincide with college and university freshers' season, will have national policing lead on alcohol harm Chief Constable Adrian Lee, taking to Twitter to answer questions about policing and alcohol.

He said: "Police are all too often having to care for people who have clearly failed to take care of themselves. These people need to grow up and take responsibility. Drinking so much that you can't think clearly makes you vulnerable and more likely to become a victim of crime, be injured or be involved in violence.

"We're not here to clean you up and drop you home or mediate drunken arguments. We'd prefer our officers to be in their communities fighting crime rather than being pulled off their beats into town centres every weekend."

Drink-fuelled anti-social behaviour in our pubs, clubs and on our streets is just part of the problem. Nearly 50 per cent of all violent crime is alcohol related. Offenders are thought to be under the influence of alcohol in nearly half of all incidents of domestic abuse and alcohol plays a part in 25 to 33 per cent of known child abuse cases. Excessive drinking clearly increases your likelihood of committing a crime or becoming a victim.

Chief Constable Lee added: "The harm that alcohol can do in our communities and the impact it has on policing is sometimes unrecognised or ignored. It shouldn't be.

"Alcohol harm is a social issue that we all have a stake in solving. There is more to do working with government and the alcohol industry but above all, personal responsibility is key.

"Don't be a drain on police time because you've had too much to drink. Take responsibility for yourself.

"The police service is realistic that it has to make budget reductions but the impact of excessive drinking is an example of the real operational challenges we face.

"We need to put officers on the streets to keep people safe and prevent crimes from occurring as well as responding when they do. But the result of that decision is that these are police officers who are not doing all the other things that the government and public want them to prioritise."