Details of an ambitious plan to tackle alcohol misuse in Nottinghamshire have been unveiled at a meeting of key partners across the city and the county.
Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping invited key stakeholders to discuss a draft of his first Alcohol Strategy, developed to cover the city and the county, which sets out how partners will work together in the future to reduce alcohol abuse and its links to a host of issues including violent crime, domestic abuse and hospital admissions – while protecting the prosperity of the night time economy.
The strategy follows the Commissioner’s Alcohol Conference in the summer which brought together a multitude of agencies and experts to discuss how joint-problem solving and more integrated ways of working could help to reduce the impact of alcohol abuse on individuals,families, and the public. It embraces the views of all those affected by alcohol misuse including retailers, licensees, treatment providers and, importantly, residents.
The content of the strategy has been influenced by a survey which took place between May and September this year to establish residents’ views about problematic alcohol use, the night-time economy and their suggestions for reversing the problem. More than half of those who responded said alcohol use was a problem in their neighbourhood and the survey results demonstrated overwhelming support for tougher controls on alcohol sales, marketing and promotion and drink driving. In addition, there was strong support for greater controls over the hours of sale, minimum unit pricing and restrictions over drinking in public.
The result of this and the discussions of partners is a fresh alcohol action plan with five strategic themes:
Working together and sharing intelligenceEarly intervention and educationTreatment and supportDiversion and preventionEnforcement
Partners have agreed to use innovative approaches in Nottinghamshire that have been trialled elsewhere in the country in the hope of delivering similar success as well as improving information sharing between local agencies including hospitals and ambulance trusts. There are also aims to increase the effectiveness of schemes such as Pubwatch and introduce service level agreements between alcohol treatment providers and local domestic violence services.
As part of a plan to step up enforcement, partners intend to increase the number of licensing officers employed by Nottinghamshire Police as well as expand the number of proactive licensing visits in crime hotspots in Nottingham and countywide to check compliance. They also intend to intervene earlier to prevent those already under the influence of alcohol drinking to excess by using legal powers.
The full Alcohol Strategy was presented to key partner representatives to discuss its contents and agree how the actions can be best implemented.
Commissioner Tipping said: “We’ve all been working very hard over the past few months to pull this strategy together and the result is a concise and practical course of action which we believe will deliver long-term change.
“Everybody affected by alcohol misuse including the general public and those involved in preventing and responding to it has had an opportunity to contribute to this plan and their views have been the inspiration behind the diverse approaches we’ve identified to move forward. Our communities naturally want tougher enforcement at the point of sale and within the night-time economy, both of which feature heavily in our strategic plans,but it is also accepted that more needs to be done to promote permanent recovery and for this reason we aim to significantly improve our treatment and support services.
“It’s also important to recognise that the night time economy is important to local prosperity, so we will work together with our partners to ensure that the City and other town centres are safe places to visit.
“I’m very excited that we are now moving into the implementation phase where we can start to make a real difference. This work couldn’t be possible without the support of my colleagues in local councils,voluntary organisations and the health sector and I am delighted to have their unwavering enthusiasm and expertise on-board.”
It is estimated that almost 50% of violent crime in Nottinghamshire is alcohol-related – this equates to around 23 alcohol-related violent crimes a day. The number of victims could be dramatically reduced by successfully addressing alcohol triggers.
Nottinghamshire City Centre has a large and highly concentrated city centre night-time economy which draws in up to 50,000 visitors in a single night from around the region and beyond. The impact the region’s health is significant: figures show Nottingham City has a significantly higher rate of alcohol-related hospital admissions than England and this is rising by about 11% each year. Efforts to reduce admissions will not only ease pressure on the emergency services but will also reduce the costs to the taxpayer.
Media Enquiries: Sallie Blair - 01283 821012 / 07702 541401
Posted on Friday 25th October 2013