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Commissioner praises multi-agency effort to reduce alcohol-related harm

Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Charles welcomed a new report revealing how police and partners are working together to reduce alcohol-related harm across the county – but warned more work was needed.

The report, produced by Derbyshire Police, was presented to a meeting of the Strategic Governance Board on Monday (14 December) and shows how proactive work between the Force and its strategic partners is raising awareness of alcohol-related crime within the licensing industry.

There are currently 2,979 premises in Derbyshire licensed to serve alcohol and in 2014-15, there were 2,526 alcohol-specific adult hospital admissions. Alcohol-related harm remains one of the top risks and threats for the Force.

The Commissioner has worked closely with the Force to address alcohol misuse and its impact on crime rates, holding an Alcohol Summit in the summer of 2013 to bring together those agencies and services committed to tackling the issue and improving support for those dependent on alcohol.

This work has led to robust engagement and enforcement within the licensing arena and tackling areas of vulnerability through partnership working.

A purposely designed campaign called ‘Intoxicated’ launched in 2012 which so far has seen some 134 bar staff across Derbyshire achieve BIIAB Level 1 Award in Responsible Alcohol Retailing (ARAR). The training increases understanding of licensing laws and bar staff responsibilities in relation to the retail sale of alcohol and serving those underage or drunk.

A further 40 bar staff completed BIIAB Level 2 Award in Drug Awareness for Licensing Hospitality Staff (ADALHS).   

Following the training, 75% of those who achieved the awards said they felt very confident in refusing the sale of alcohol to underage and drunk customers in the future while 20% said they felt confident and 5% said they felt fairly confident.

A bespoke training course has now been developed for sixth form students with similar aims of raising awareness of responsible drinking which will be delivered this month (December) as part of a trial.

Welcoming the findings of the report, Commissioner Charles said: “I’m very impressed by the work that has taken place so far to change attitudes towards alcohol consumption from educating young people on what constitutes sensible drinking to helping licensed staff understand the dangers and legalities of serving those already intoxicated.

“As with any preventative campaign, it’s a long road to recovery and it’s clear from the crime data that more work is needed to deliver the kind of reductions in drink-related offending that will relieve our hard-working blue light services of current demands.

“I’m very grateful to be working so closely with our voluntary and public sector partners and local licensing authorities to deliver the permanent changes we envisage, combining our resources and expertise in times of austerity to achieve outcomes that benefit the public and reduce the pressure on our health staff. The Intoxicated campaign has been instrumental in strengthening the relationship between the Police and the licensing trade and I am confident this partnership approach will continue to deliver results in the future.”

Alcohol-related crime has increased by 6.5% (303 offences) during the past 12 months however this is still 139 offences fewer (2.7%) than the figure recorded at the same time two years previously. Meanwhile, figures for alcohol-related violent crime as a proportion of all violent crime has reduced during the last 12 month and 24-month period.

The majority of bar staff interviewed following the ‘Intoxicated’ campaign said they believed the level of drunkenness they had seen at work had either slightly reduced or remained the same.

Levels of alcohol-related crime linked to the night-time economy in Glossop and Buxton showed a slight reduction, however the report said the trend could not be exclusively linked to the campaign as other factors may have played a part.

During the past 12 months, the percentage of alcohol-related sexual offences and alcohol-related criminal damage offences has fallen in the county. However, alcohol still accounts for one in 10 of all crimes recorded.

Other successful schemes to have been implemented include the introduction of Cumulative Impact Zones (CIZ) in Derby City Centre and Chesterfield Town Centre which aim to limit alcohol outlet density within an already recognised problem area and the roll-out of a new crime recording system to ensure criminality and vulnerability is managed effectively.

Meanwhile, in Derbyshire, the appointment of two full-time substance misuse specialists by Youth Offending Service is believed to have contributed to a lower regional youth reoffending rate of 29.4% as compared with a national rate of 35.4%.

Ends

 

Media Enquiries:    Sallie Blair - 01283 821012 / 07702 541401

 

Posted on Thursday 17th December 2015
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