Top North East police members and delegates join forces in bid to tackle region’s alcohol crisis

Pint glass drink

Tackling alcoholism was the big discussion at a conference in Durham, where senior police figures and 100 delegates met to express their concerns.

The event heard from a line-up of speakers, including Northumbria PCC Vera Baird and Durham PCC Ron Hogg, call on the Government to push through legislation meant to reduce the significant harm of alcohol.

A popular strategy raised was the increase in alcohol prices, making it less accessible to the public in order to reduce consumption.

PCC Ron Hogg said: “I’d like to see a minimum unit price which actually impacts upon the high strength lagers and ciders you can buy very cheaply on our supermarket shelves.

We need to restrict the number of places where you can buy alcohol. You can get it in motorway service areas, in garages – it’s just total madness.”

Dorothy Birch, Professor of Alcohol and Public Health Research, said: “It’s simple. There is no other option but minimum unit pricing. The evidence from abroad tells us that there is no doubt that minimum unit pricing would work.”

Other tactics discussed included raising the drink driving limit and making it harder for shops to obtain off-licences.

The North East is the region with the highest figures of alcoholism in the country, it is reported.

Alcohol reduction campaign group Balance has released a report which revealed that 57 per cent of people living in the North East have suffered due to the drinking of others in the past 12 months.

Colin Shevills, Director of Balance, said: “We’ve become used to low-level disruption, noise, litter, being shouted at for no apparent reason by someone who is drunk, or feeling threatened even though you’re not actually subjected to any kind of violence.

We’ve become accepting of that. We try to avoid it, but it shouldn’t be that that’s the social norm.”

Despite the number of charities and health services available for people with drinking problems, the North East is still the region most affected, with alcohol-related deaths having risen by 57 per cent since 1994.

To see the full report by Balance, visit

Comments are closed.