Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 29°C

min temp: 19°C

Search

Ipswich: Reducing the Strength campaign hailed at national conference in Wherstead

13:52 05 March 2014

Back row from left to right: Chief Inspector Andrew Mason, Simon Aalders, Mike Nicholas, David Paterson, Shane Brennan.  Front row from left to right: Henry Ashworth, David Ellesmere, Roger Grosvenor.

Back row from left to right: Chief Inspector Andrew Mason, Simon Aalders, Mike Nicholas, David Paterson, Shane Brennan. Front row from left to right: Henry Ashworth, David Ellesmere, Roger Grosvenor.

Archant

A national summit held in Ipswich to celebrate the pioneering effort to banish the sale of super-strength, low-cost alcohol in the town was a “fantastic success”, police said.

More than 200 delegates from across the UK heard how the Reducing the Strength initiative has successfully tackled street drinking in the town.

The trailblazing project was set up by police and partner agencies including the East of England Co-op. Since it began it has attracted the attention of constabularies and councils throughout Britain.

Some have already replicated the scheme which aims to prevent the excesses of street drinking, make a better environment for the public and businesses, and help vulnerable alcoholics into rehab.

Organisations from across the country and representatives from the drinks’ industry gathered at Wherstead Park, Wherstead, for the first national Reducing the Strength conference on Tuesday.

Delegates heard how the voluntary initiative in Ipswich has achieved significant results as part of a wider campaign tackling street drinking in the town.

Two thirds of the town’s 147 off-licensed stores are now signed up to the initiative and the number of reports of street drinking in the town continues to reduce.

The conference heard how the number of recognised members of the street drinking community has reduced by more 50%, dropping from 70 in 2011 to 31.

Since the launch of the campaign in September 2012, organisers have been inundated with requests for information and assistance from police forces and councils across the UK that have been looking to emulate its success.

Chief Inspector Andrew Mason said the conference was a “fantastic success”.

He said: “We are delighted with the number of people who attended from all over the UK, and with the extremely interesting presentations given by experts from organisations affected by Reducing the Strength.

“It was important for us to hold this event as a chance to give all the people who have shown an interest a comprehensive update on why we introduced the campaign, how we did it, and what it has achieved.

“But also, crucially, we wanted to host an interesting debate on the range of issues and debates it has initiated and to clarify our specific aims and intentions.

“We identified a serious problem with street drinking in Ipswich, which was affecting individuals and communities and we had to take action.

“We have worked with our local businesses and asked them to join us, voluntarily, in removing specific products from their shelves.”

Presentations were delivered by a spokesman for the association of convenience stores, the head of public affairs and corporate responsibility for Heineken UK, and the chief executive of the Portman Group – the responsibility body for drinks producers in the UK.

In addition a representative from Thames Reach, a London-based charity helping the homeless and vulnerable, addressed the audience.

Speakers also included Chief Inspector Andrew Mason, of Suffolk Constabulary, who has been one of the main driving forces behind the Reducing The Strength campaign, along with Roger Grosvenor of East of England Co-op and Ipswich Borough Council leader David Ellesmere.

Ch Insp Mason added: “The local problems experienced by the delegates who attended on Tuesday will differ widely, but the community issues caused by street drinking and the consumption of super-strength alcohol are very similar in all areas.

“I hope delegates have been able to take away some ideas and considerations for tackling issues in their towns and cities.

“We have seen our campaign spread out to Lowestoft, Bury St Edmunds and Haverhill and will be looking to further roll it out across Suffolk.”

2 comments

  • Thats it, jump on the band wagon... increase the price per unit of alcohol so that those who exhibit control are tarred with the same brush as problem drinkers and "street drinkers" (a dissmisive derogatory term IMHO). Increase the profit for the taxman and the monopoly breweries, and reduce choice for the ever squeezed masses..... very socially responsible of you (NOT), and all for the price of free publicity.

    Report this comment

    Vincent Quill

    Wednesday, March 5, 2014

  • It is not only "street drinkers" who have addiction problems with the super strength but low price alcohol. I know a lad in his 20's who gave up his job because he could not function at work due to his drinking of these big bottles of cheap cider and he lives at home with family.

    Report this comment

    The original Victor Meldrew

    Wednesday, March 5, 2014

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

The scene of police activity on St Matthews Street, Ipswich

Police who carried out a raid at an Ipswich town centre flat found it had been turned into a cannabis factory with more than 200 plants at different stages of growth, a court has heard.

Manningtree band Superglu

A band from north Essex will be headlining at stage at one of Britain’s biggest music festivals this weekend.

Great Eastern Rail Campaign members at Ipswich Station: 
Jonathan Denby, David Burch, Chris Starkie, Chloe Smith MP and Bun Gummer MP

In the second of five three-minute interviews Ben Gummer, the MP for Ipswich, gives his reaction to Abellio Greater Anglia being awarded the rail franchise for East Anglia.

Sydney Mini Market, Ipswich

Three establishments in Ipswich have been given one star food hygiene ratings after latest inspections.

What can you do with the kids in the last few days of the summer holidays?

There is just over one week left of the summer holidays but there is plenty still to do before the schools open their doors for a new term.

Ipswich Blue has proven to be one of the most popular of the sculptures

The much-loved and popular pig sculptures from the Pigs Gone Wild art trail will be going, going, gone at an auction soon.

The stretch of A12 at Seven hills

A tractor has shed its load of potatoes on the A1156 at Seven Hills this morning.

The summer sun will be good news for beachgoers this week

Suffolk is set for a scorcher of a week as temperatures are set to soar to 30C (86F).

Mugger hunted

Police are hunting a mugger who attacked a 75-year-old man in Felixstowe and stole his wallet.

The aftermath of a flare being let off during the Sky Bet Championship match at Portman Road.

Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Two men from Essex are to appear in court charged with breaching an order during the police operation for the Ipswich v Norwich game on Sunday.

Most read

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

MyDate24 MyPhotos24