Clacton: Midday boozing unacceptable – MP Douglas Carswell backs new Reducing the Strength campaign
12:00 12 April 2014
Midday boozing is not an acceptable lifestyle choice.
That’s the message from Clacton’s MP as he backed the campaign to take super-strength alcohol off the town’s shelves.
Douglas Carswell said he was “100% behind” the Reducing the Strength scheme to be rolled out in Clacton in the next few weeks.
Similar projects have sprung up across the country since the pioneering campaign in Ipswich was launched in 2012.
And Clacton is the latest town to join the movement against super-strength, low-cost booze being drunk on its streets.
A launch in late April or early May is planned after the initiative received unanimous support from Tendring District Council’s (TDC) licensing committee.
The council has joined forces with Essex Police, health agencies and traders to cut down on the number of alcohol related crimes and anti-social behaviour often caused by street drinkers buying low-cost, high-strength beers, lagers and ciders.
These are the preferred choices for street drinkers because they enable them to get drunk quickly and cheaply.
While shops cannot be ordered to remove the drinks from their shelves police and council officers will be encouraging them to take part in the campaign.
Tony Fawcett, chairman of TDC’s licensing committee, said: “This is a significant step forward towards taking high strength low cost alcohol off the streets of our town and help to reduce anti-social behaviour on our streets.
“It was fully supported by the committee and I am sure it will have the backing of residents.”
The campaign will be focused on the Clacton town centre pier ward and the surrounding ward areas.
Neighbourhood policing sergeant Danielle Booth said she was excited about the prospect of the campaign making a real difference.
“It is an opportunity for all of us to deal with some of the anti-social behaviour issues that we are encountering in Clacton town centre,” she said.
“If all partners commit themselves to this initiative then it will be a force to be reckoned with and I would urge our businesses to come on board.
“I would ask them to show some courage and make what for some might be a difficult decision to benefit the local community that they are part of.”
Reacting to news of the campaign Mr Carswell said: “I am 100% behind it and think it’s a very sensible initiative. I think it will persuade the sensible shopkeepers.
“We need to tackle long-term welfare dependency and a sub-culture that sees midday boozing as an acceptable lifestyle choice.
“I’m very encouraged by the start that’s been made. Retailers in Clacton will respond and I think we’ll see an improvement.
“I do think we need to recognise though that it’s tackling symptoms of a problem rather than the source of a problem.”