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Ipswich: New Iceland store’s landmark decision to join trailblazing project to banish street drinking

PUBLISHED: 16:17 29 April 2014 | UPDATED: 16:17 29 April 2014

The new Iceland store in Ipswich town centre

The new Iceland store in Ipswich town centre

Ipswich’s nationally-acclaimed campaign to banish super-strength alcohol from being sold in the town has inspired another countrywide first today.

Iceland’s new store, which is due to open in Tower Ramparts this morning, has become a trailblazer for the company’s other shops by voluntarily deciding not to sell low-cost high-volume alcohol.

There are now more than 100 out of around 142 off licences and retailers in Ipswich which have taken the pledge and signed up to the Reducing the Strength campaign.

The pioneering initiative, which is being replicated in towns and cities around Britain, is part of a multi-agency strategy to eradicate the anti-social problem behaviour of street drinkers.

Its launch in September 2012 attracted national media attention. Since then the scheme has continued to prove a success.

In March more than 200 delegates representing police, the drinks’ industry, and other organisations from across the UK met at Wherstead Park to discuss how to move the campaign forward.

Now police have said they were delighted with Iceland’s backing.

Chief Inspector Andrew Mason, who is overseeing Reducing the Strength in Suffolk, said: “It is great to see a new store open and volunteer to sign up to the Reducing the Strength campaign. We understand it is the first Iceland store in the country to do so and it’s fantastic that the company has chosen to do that in Ipswich.

“We look forward to continuing to work in partnership with Iceland and other retailers in the future.

“We also hope Iceland will consider removing the super strength alcohol from their St Matthew’s Street store in the near future.”

A spokeswoman for Iceland said: “Iceland always does its utmost to respect the views of the communities in which we trade.

“This is why, following consultation with the local authorities, we have volunteered to trial the removal of super-strength alcohol from our range in our new Tower Ramparts store.

“Alcohol is a small part of the Iceland offer but we try to provide our customers with a range of products that is relevant and competitive, and we will review this trial in the light of customer feedback and the views of the wider community.”

Reducing the Strength was set up by police and partner agencies including the East of England Co-op. It is also backed by the Ipswich Star and BBC Radio Suffolk.

In a double beat-the-booze boost, yesterday the Star reported on how police and community leaders are calling on every pub and club in Ipswich to join the town’s Best Bar None scheme.

Those behind the project are looking to increase the number of nightspots already signed up to 50 by the end of October.

Best Bar None promotes responsible management and operation of licensed premises. It aims to reduce binge-drinking and make Ipswich more desirable for those looking for a night out.

It has won national recognition for being the “most innovative scheme” in the country in the first year after its launch in September 2010.

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