Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping today (Monday 16 November) reiterated his commitment to preventing alcohol crime as he backed a national awareness campaign.
Commissioner Tipping said huge strides had been made to help those in the grip of alcohol addiction receive the support they need while police were working hard with partners to tackle drink-fuelled violence within the night-time economy.
But he warned more preventative work was needed to break the cycle of alcohol addiction and to persuade young people to drink sensibly on a night out – priorities which tie in with his Police and Crime Plan pledges to reduce alcohol-related crime.
Mr Tipping was speaking as Alcohol Awareness Week got underway across the UK.
The campaign, which runs from November 16-22, highlights the impact of excessive alcohol on health and society.
“Tackling alcohol-related crime is one of my top priorities as Commissioner and I’m pleased that so many organisations are working together to deliver improved support and treatment options for those who misuse alcohol as well as tough enforcement measures and preventative education,” said Mr Tipping.
“This no-nonsense approach has recently helped us to achieve Purple Flag status for the sixth successive year which demonstrates the clear policies and sound management that takes place between our partners and the night-time economy to protect revellers.
“Alcohol will continue to present a challenge to the Police, the public and health providers until those dependent on drink are put on the right pathway to recovery. This is why a considerable part of my Community Safety Fund has been channelled into local projects which address alcohol addiction and motivate service users to change their behaviour.
“I wholeheartedly support Alcohol Awareness Week and its aim to get people thinking about their alcohol consumption. As much as half of violent crime can be put down to too much drink; if we can convince people to drink more responsibly on a night out, then it’s obvious there will be far fewer victims of violence.”
In Nottingham City an estimated 7% of the population are what is described as a ‘higher risk’ drinker. This means that if they are male they regularly drink more than eight units of alcohol per day and over six units per day if they are female. This is much higher than the recommended daily limit which is 3-4 units for men and 2-3 units for women. Just under 24% also engage with what is known as ‘binge drinking’, which means consuming eight or more units in a single session for men, and six or more for women.
There are currently 664 individuals receiving specialist treatment for alcohol addiction in Nottingham. Latest figures from the city’s alcohol treatment services show an increase in the number of successful completions of alcohol treatment programmes, with39.8% successfully completing treatment compared to 27% in 2014. The local partnership is working hard to increase referrals to treatment services. This includes launching a ‘Blue Light Project’ which engages treatment-resistant street drinkers in the Arboretum ward of Nottingham who play a significant role in antisocial behaviour problems in the area.
The project is Alcohol Concern’s national initiative to develop alternative approaches to high-risk problem drinkers who place a burden on public services. It is estimated by Alcohol Concern that locally there are around 450 treatment-resistant drinkers who cost public services more than £12.5m per year in hospital admissions and policing resources. The service works directly with these individuals to encourage them to seek help. If this fails, community orders are put in place with specific alcohol treatment interventions to reduce dependency on drink.
Operationally, a new system has also been introduced to establish more effective data-sharing and analysis to aid management of the city’s night-time economy. The ‘Insight Hub’ is a joint project involving data-sharing between health care providers.
Meanwhile, partners are developing an approach to tackle the harm caused by drinking alcohol alongside taking stimulant drugs to reduce violence in Nottingham (supporting the PCC’s Alcohol Strategy and adding to the city’s wider strategic approach to substance misuse). Those arrested or given warnings are directed into the city’s drug and alcohol services to access treatment appropriate to their needs.
Works continues to reduce violence in Nottingham City centre’s night-time economy using a Home Office recognised best practice approach of restricting the supply of cocaine and other stimulants. First piloted in the city in November and December 2013, the operation contributed to a 23% reduction in violent crime.
City Councillor Nicola Heaton, portfolio holder for Community Services, said: “Nottingham City Council is committed to mitigating the impact of the mismanagement of alcohol, including the resulting crime and anti-social behaviour. Citizens should be able to enjoy our vibrant night time economy and not have it spoilt by anti-social or inappropriate behaviour.”
Last year, Drinkaware also ran a pilot ‘club hosts’ scheme in three venues in Nottingham and Mansfield as part of the Home Office-led Local Alcohol Action Area (LAAA) programme. This was well received and the scheme saw hosts talking to revellers to make sure they were safe and free from sexual harassment. The organisation is currently working with partners to see how the learning can be taken forward more widely in the city.
Media Enquiries: Sallie Blair - 01283 821012 / 07702 541401
Posted on Monday 16th November 2015