A TRAILBLAZING campaign to rid the town of cheap super-strength alcohol and help reduce street drinking has been hailed as an example to the rest of the country.

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Reducing The Strength campaign

• The Reducing The Strength training day was funded by the SAB Miller Scholars Programme and those that attended were given the chance to get the British Institute of Innkeeping • Awarding Body (BIIAB) Award in Responsible Alcohol Retailing.

• The venue was provided free of charge by the Ramada Hotel.

• The Reducing the Strength campaign was launched in the town in September.

•The campaign aims to stop the sale of cheap super-strength beer, lager and cider from off-licensed premises.

• The campaign is a joint initiative between Suffolk Police, NHS Suffolk, Ipswich Borough Council, Suffolk County Council and the East of England Co-Operative Society.

• Reducing the Strength asks off-licence owners to voluntarily remove super-strength products from their stores.

Backed by the Ipswich Star, the Reducing the Strength campaign, a joint initiative with various agencies which aims to stop the sale of super-strength products from off-licensed premises, has been declared a success with 75% of premises signed up to the scheme and a significant drop in the amount of street drinking incidents.

A total of 70 premises have now joined the campaign out of 122 in the town.

Yesterday representatives from 24 off and on-licensed premises in Ipswich, which have signed up to the scheme, took part in a training session run by firm Day One and supported by the council, police and health service. The idea was to give retailers an increased awareness and understanding about the sale of alcohol.

The aim now is to get the other remaining businesses to sign up.

BP garage

Among those attending the event was Chandima Perera, who runs the BP garage in Spring Road. He used to sell super-strength alcohol but has since stopped after deciding to back the campaign.

He said: “After talking to the police, I noticed more street drinkers so I decided I needed to support the community. Since I stopped selling them, my sales did not go down and I got more recognition from the community. I am more of a responsible seller now.”

Pc Gary Pinyoun, licensing officer at Suffolk Police, said: “Suffolk is showing the way for the rest of the country in this. We have been receiving calls from all over the country from forces asking how we have done it, and asking for our advice and input.

“The number of street drinking incidents has dropped significantly since we started this initiative.

“We want them [off-licence owners] to understand the benefits of this scheme. I think there is a perception it could affect their trade but I know that is not the case.”

Ben Gummer, Ipswich MP, who supported and opened the event, said there was still some way to go to completely eradicate the problem of street drinking.

He said: “It’s already having an effect on anti-social behaviour in the town centre but we still haven’t solved the problem.

“Whilst there are still retailers offering super-strength low cost alcohol to vulnerable alcoholics, then we will not deal with the problems that come with that.

“I would say to the retailers that have not joined up to take a look at themselves and look at the damage they are perpetuating.

“These drinks are almost entirely bought by alcoholics who have an addiction and it makes it that much harder for people to help them and deal with the problems they cause if they continue to serve them.”

Pc John Alcock, who has been instrumental in driving forward the campaign, added: “Licensing teams at Suffolk Police and Ipswich Borough Council work very hard to ensure that premises in the town adhere to the strict regulations required of them to ensure responsible retailing.

“Our recent campaign has brought issues surrounding the sale of alcohol to public attention and it is fantastic that with help from other organisations such as Day One, we can put further long lasting plans in place to ensure this positive action continues.”

6 comments

  • While I understand the sentiment I don't realistically see this making a huge difference, if an alcoholic can't get their drink of choice will they stop drinking? Of course not! The article seems to suggest it is the retailers fault that street drinking exists, I'm sorry but no one forces people to drink, it is a choice they make themselves but as usual expect others to take responsibility for it!

    Report this comment

    MZH

    Tuesday, February 5, 2013

  • I completely agree with MZH. In the long run, this will only increase crime rates. People who can afford to keep buying the alcohol will - no matter the price - and people who can't will steal for it. The problem isn't the price of alcohol, it is individuals' lack of respect for themselves and others and the lack of discipline from parents - not helped by the fact that teachers, police officers and other people in authoritative positions are restricted. I'm not saying that it isn't good to have health and safety regulations in place but young people are aware that they are in control and that's what brings the trouble. I was allowed a sip of alcohol at a young age if I asked politely to taste it - normally I didn't like it anyway like most children - and as a result, I have rarely abused alcohol. When I have abused alcohol I have been in a safe environment with people I trust and not out in town where I would be vulnerable even without alcohol consumption! Why don't the authorities put the time and effort into helping prevent the issue from a younger age and help parents who struggle with discipline for whatever reason to be consistant with their rules and boundaries? Also, teachers do an excellent job within schools - all the parents who complain all the time and think their child would never set a foot wrong need to re-think their attitude. If I ever got in trouble the first thing my Mum said was "What did you do wrong? You wouldn't be in trouble for no reason." 910 I had done something wrong in one way or another and I was well behaved!

    Report this comment

    SET

    Tuesday, February 5, 2013

  • Let us all sit at the Civic Drive benches as the benches in Lady Lane and Providence Street were moved to appease the Council and a major store Let all and sundry drink and leave their rubbish strewn all over the place and the unfortunate refuse collectors are left to deal but all is well with the world when your wife girlfriend and daughter is leered at and generally harassed The dogooders of Suffolk POlice and Neighbourhood Watch will tell you what a great job is being done For goodness sake get in the real world and invite Mr Passmore to this area to attend the urine littered St Matthews Church Lane........lovely

    Report this comment

    Joseph Marshall

    Tuesday, February 5, 2013

  • Let us all sit at the Civic Drive benches as the benches in Lady Lane and Providence Street were moved to appease the Council and a major store Let all and sundry drink and leave their rubbish strewn all over the place and the unfortunate refuse collectors are left to deal but all is well with the world when your wife girlfriend and daughter is leered at and generally harassed The dogooders of Suffolk POlice and Neighbourhood Watch will tell you what a great job is being done For goodness sake get in the real world and invite Mr Passmore to this area to attend the urine littered St Matthews Church Lane........lovely

    Report this comment

    Joseph Marshall

    Tuesday, February 5, 2013

  • I completely agree with MZH. This will only increase crime rates in future. People who can afford it will keep buying and abusing alcohol and people who can't will steal for it. The problem isn't the price of alcohol, it's the lack of individuals' self respect, respect for others and lack of discipline. There's only so much people in authoritative positions can do. Young people are aware that they have control and will take advantage because they are too immature to have that responsibility. When I was a child, I was often allowed a sip of alcohol if I asked politely. Most of the time I didn't like it anyway but as a young adult I rarely abused alcohol and on the few occasions I did, I was in a safe environment among people I trusted. I never abuse alcohol in town as I would be vulnerable even without alcohol! The authorities who initiated this campaign should use their time more constructively and start at the source. Help parents who find discipline difficult to be consistant with their rules and boundaries. As for the parents who complain to schools because they feel their child is innocent - get real. The first thing my Mum always said if I got in trouble in school was "What did you do? You must have done something to be in trouble." 910 I HAD done something wrong in some way...and I was well behaved!!

    Report this comment

    SET

    Tuesday, February 5, 2013

  • I completely agree with MZH. In the long run, this will only increase crime rates. People who can afford to keep buying the alcohol will - no matter the price - and people who can't will steal for it. The problem isn't the price of alcohol, it is individuals' lack of respect for themselves and others and the lack of discipline from parents - not helped by the fact that teachers, police officers and other people in authoritative positions are restricted. I'm not saying that it isn't good to have health and safety regulations in place but young people are aware that they are in control and that's what brings the trouble. I was allowed a sip of alcohol at a young age if I asked politely to taste it - normally I didn't like it anyway like most children - and as a result, I have rarely abused alcohol. When I have abused alcohol I have been in a safe environment with people I trust and not out in town where I would be vulnerable even without alcohol consumption! Why don't the authorities put the time and effort into helping prevent the issue from a younger age and help parents who struggle with discipline for whatever reason to be consistant with their rules and boundaries? Also, teachers do an excellent job within schools - all the parents who complain all the time and think their child would never set a foot wrong need to re-think their attitude. If I ever got in trouble the first thing my Mum said was "What did you do wrong? You wouldn't be in trouble for no reason." 910 I had done something wrong in one way or another and I was well behaved!

    Report this comment

    SET

    Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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