March 9 2014 Latest news:
Saturday, December 14, 2013
A campaign to rid shops in Ipswich of cheap, super-strength alcohol, was today credited as a major factor behind new figures which show the number of street drinkers in the town has nearly halved in the past year.
Licensing chiefs and police say it is important that those individuals get the help and support they need to change their lifestyles for good, but that the latest data, released by the county council ahead of a meeting next week, was very encouraging.
It has come just over a year after the Reducing the Strength campaign, which 90 out of 130 shops in Ipswich have now signed up to, was launched and shows the number of known street drinkers in Ipswich has fallen from 70 to 38 in the past year.
The information has also revealed that there have been no new people joining these particular groups.
Alan Murray, county council cabinet member for health and adult care, said: “The response from outlets agreeing to discontinue their sale of super strength alcohol has been phenomenal.
“There are now just under 70% of stores in Ipswich that have signed up to the scheme, attracting positive national attention, resulting in other counties adopting our approach.
“Further to this we’ve managed to reduce the number of street drinkers by almost half, and discouraged any new offenders. I’d like to congratulate all those who have worked on the campaign so far and I’m keen that this hard work is continued.”
Suffolk police has also welcomed the figures, saying they prove the campaign, which calls for shops to not sell cheap and super-strength alcohol, is working.
Chief Inspector Andrew Mason said: “There is no doubt that the introduction of the Reducing the Strength campaign has had a positive effect and contributed to the fewer number of reports of street drinking activity and anti-social behaviour in Ipswich.
“The impact that the campaign has had is a true reflection of strong partnership working where agencies have come together to look at the picture as a whole, rather than specifically looking at enforcement.
“Street drinkers are vulnerable people who need help and support to receive the services and treatment they require to get their lives back on track.
“It is encouraging that the campaign has now been introduced in other parts of the county and that other force areas have also decided to adopt a similar approach.”
Super-strength alcohol includes lager, beer and cider with an alcohol volume of 6.5% or more that is sold cheaply.