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Officers taking the responsible drinking message into Northampton supermarkets

December 5, 2012, 6:14 pm

SAFER Community Team officers in Northampton are promoting the ‘alcohol responsible messages in town supermarkets this week in the run up to the busy Christmas period.

The officers will be at the Asda, Morrisons, Sainsburys and Tesco stores in the town, looking at how the major retailers are promoting, marketing and displaying alcohol sales and handing out leaflets to festive shoppers.

The ‘Are You Thinking About Drinking campaign is designed to foster a more socially-responsible approach to the consumption of alcohol and is pivotal to the joint working across the county with Northamptonshire County Councils Trading Standards Department, and also the liquor licensing and public health authorities.

The stores are:-

• displaying ‘alcohol responsible information on notice boards and at checkouts
• pledging to ensure the responsible marketing, promotion and display of alcohol around the festive period
• rigorously enforcing the ‘Challenge 25 initiative designed to combat the sale of alcohol to those who are under-age

The campaign has been prompted by the fact that it costs Northamptonshire Police almost £1.5 million each year just to resource officers to police town centres at weekends.

And it has been estimated that the social cost fall out of irresponsible, excessive drinking each year amounts to £700 for each household in terms of paying for ongoing costs incurred by the police and health services and criminal justice agencies.

Half of all the violent crime in Northamptonshire during the last crime recording year was alcohol-related – and Chief Constable Adrian Lee feels that enough is enough.

Mr Lee, the lead police officer nationally looking at ways of reducing alcohol harm, welcomed the recently-published Alcohol Strategy Consultation and views this as a positive way forward in tackling alcohol-related violence on our streets.

He said: “Irresponsible consumption of alcohol results in increased violent crime and anti-social behaviour on our streets and this is a cost that taxpayers have to bear in terms of finding more money for extra policing in town centres at weekends.

“But key to changing this drinking culture is the need for individuals – be they legislators or licensees, traders or retailers, parents of under-age drinkers and the drinkers themselves – to be socially responsible.

“Too often, individuals are too wrapped up in the world they live in that they lose sight of the wider picture and fail to see how their actions might be impacting on other areas of the community.

“Police officers in Northamptonshire have this week been visiting supermarkets in Northampton, encouraging members of the public to be aware of their responsibilities around alcohol.”

Northamptonshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Adam Simmonds, added: “We want people to enjoy a drink but we want them to do so responsibly. We find this is not the case when people, many under age, drink heavily at home in the evening and go into town at night already drunk.

“It is not the case when off-licences turn a blind eye to young people trying to buy alcohol on their premises and it is not the case when parents buy alcohol for those who are under-age.

“Irresponsible drinking causes huge problems for policing and health services, already stretched to the limit.

“We all have a part to play in making sure we put this right both locally and nationally.”

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