Ipswich: Pc’s close up view of heartbreak caused by cheap alcohol

AS THE town’s street-drinking liaison officer Pc John Alcock knows better than most the damage inflicted through the misuse of super-strength alcohol.

As a ground-breaking drive to banish the curse of cheap super-strength alcohol from Ipswich off-licences was launched today, Pc Alcock gave his verdict on the damage it can cause.

Pc Alcock said: “A single can contains more than the recommended daily allowance for a male.

“The street drinkers are drinking copious amounts of this. Some are drinking ten to 12 cans a day.

“Cheap super-strength alcohol is also attractive to under age drinkers as the cost means it is affordable and achieves the desired effect they are looking for without them knowing, or even caring, how strong the cider or lager is.”

Throughout the past three years Pc Alcock has striven to make inroads with Ipswich’s street drinkers who are often treated with contempt by those who pass them by, sometimes with good reason.

He said: “They are viewed by the public in a number of ways. The comments I hear most is they are aggressive, dirty, frightening and worthless. I kind of understand why people say that because it is fear of the unknown.

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“They display anti-social behaviour when they are drinking. I wouldn’t excuse their behaviour, but because of this people understandably have this perception and can’t see the person behind the image.

“These people are someone’s father, son, brother. We have to view them as people with an addiction or illness.

“Because of the work I do I am out in plain clothes.

“I saw one of the well-known drinkers sitting in Dial Lane. He wasn’t drinking and I was speaking to him. This gentleman, who was middle-aged – late 40s, looked at us. He took a look at the chap I was with, spat on the floor and said something like ‘you want to get yourself a job’. Then he swung his foot out and kicked the foot of the chap.

“I identified myself as a police officer and at once the man was incredibly apologetic.

“We have to start looking at people as human beings. Enforcement alone and the attitude that these people are something less than the rest of us isn’t helping.”