SUSSEX Police has today (Wednesday, September 18) launched a week-long campaign to highlight the dangers caused by drink and drunkenness.
Since Monday, officers have been checking that off-licences, bars, pubs and clubs are not selling alcohol to under 18s, using swabs to check for drugs in premises and visiting venues that have a history of drink-related offences linked to them.
Neighbourhood policing teams, street pastors, special constables, police cadets and road policing teams are all being deployed in the campaign.
Officers are speaking to new students at freshers’ weeks on staying safe and providing awareness training on vulnerability with security and bar staff.
Council and fire and rescue officials are checking venues have trained door staff, proper safety procedures and are selling accurate measures of drink.
In Chichester, the volunteer City Angels will be out helping and talking to revellers and giving out free coffee and water.
The In Focus: Alcohol Harm initiative has been timed to coincide with college and university freshers’ season.
Officers will be describing alcohol-related incidents they deal with using the hashtag #alcoholharm on Twitter.
Nearly half 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 up to a third of known child abuse cases.
Chief Inspector Simon Nelson said: “Many people like a drink but no one likes to end up hurt or in trouble because of it.
“Every night officers have to deal with those who have had to much to drink and their victims. It can range from incidents where drinkers are being too noisy and ruining the sleep of residents to those in which offenders become violent and leave their often innocent victims with serious and even fatal injuries.
“Because of the cost of dealing with the issue, alcohol-related crime affects us all, so it is particularly relevent for us to work closely with our partners on this campaign.”
Sussex police and crime commissioner Katy Bourne said: “I fully support this campaign as it involves so many partner agencies working together to address the dangers of alcohol abuse and the effect it has not only on the individual and their loved ones but on society as a whole.
“Anything that can be done to try and combat the negative side of alcohol abuse is a step in the right direction.”
Crime prevention minister Jeremy Browne said: “I welcome this campaign to raise awareness of the impact of alcohol-fuelled crime, which costs around £11 billion a year in England and Wales.
“Frontline police officers are all too aware of the drunken behaviour and alcohol-fuelled disorder that can effectively turn towns and cities into no-go areas for law-abiding people, particularly on Friday and Saturday nights.
“The government is taking a wide range of action to tackle alcohol-related crime and disorder. This includes introducing a ban on alcohol sales below the level of duty plus VAT to tackle the worst cases of very cheap and harmful drink.”
Anne Foster, the director of marketing and communications at alcohol education charity Drinkaware, said: “Excessive drinking and drunken behaviour has a negative impact on communities, families, businesses and public services.
“Every year, £21 billion is spent on health, crime, policing costs and costs to the economy that are a result of excessive drinking.
“Considering the high price paid, we must act swiftly to address this, and we believe it starts with personal responsibility.
“Drinkaware is committed to reducing alcohol related harm through education, awareness campaigns and working with partners to stem the rising tide of alcohol misuse.”