Image: person drinking lager
Letter from three North East Police and Crime Commissioners:
Government ignores 14,000 North Easterners over minimum unit price for alcohol
We were shocked to read that in considering responses to the national alcohol strategy consultation, the Government has apparently chosen to ignore the views of 14,838 people from the North East.
The responses have been published and they have been analysed by the independent Institute of Alcohol Studies. In a report published last week they estimate that 45% were in favour of the principle of a minimum unit price (MUP) for alcohol with 46% against. This contrasts with the figure of 34% stated by the Government to support MUP at 45p per unit.
More worryingly for the North East the report states that, while the Home Office analysis includes responses from individuals, often passed on via their MPs, it totally ignores the 14,838 responses collected by postcard by Balance, the North East Alcohol Office, in favour of a MUP of at least 50p per unit.
The consumption of cheap, strong alcohol is directly linked to crime and disorder. Almost half of violent crime is linked to alcohol and in a recent survey of frontline police officers in the North East, almost 100 per cent replied that they couldn’t remember the last time they were called to a domestic abuse incident where alcohol wasn’t involved.
While MUP is not a magic bullet, the evidence is clear. It is a targeted measure which will increase the price of the strongest, cheapest drinks most often consumed by heavy drinkers and young people. It will save lives and cut crime. It will help protect some of the most vulnerable groups in the North East. It won’t affect prices in our community pubs and it will have a marginal impact on those drinking within the recommended guidelines.
We’ve said it to the Government before and we say it again – introduce minimum unit price at the earliest opportunity if you are serious about tackling crime and disorder in our homes and in our towns and cities.
Barry Coppinger, Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland
Ron Hogg, Police and Crime Commissioner for Durham
Vera Baird, Police and Crime Commissioner for Durham
Posted on Monday 23rd December 2013