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Cheap Alcohol Talks

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1:32pm 5th March 2014

Cornwall and Devon's Crime Commissioner has called a meeting with supermarkets about cheap booze.

Bosses were shown a video about so-called pre-loading.

Tony Hogg said he is worried young people are drinking too much before they go out: "I am about to publish my updated Police and Crime Plan, and tackling alcohol related crime and misuse is one of my top priorities.
 
"There is no 'quick fix' but I want this meeting to signal the start of long term engagement with the supermarkets and retailers.
 
"I am pleased that many have accepted this invitation to meet with me because I want to give them the opportunity to talk about the work they already do in this regard.
 
"I will certainly not be 'lecturing' them, but I will be looking for them to fully understand the issues here, and play their part in developing a considered, educated and joined up approach. I am also continuing dialogue with those that can't attend this initial meeting."
 
Mr Hogg added: "Considerable policing resources are needed to deal with alcohol related crime and disorder. There are many factors that influence this and I am keen to take time to seek advice from a wide range of people to make sure that we get this right."
 
Mr Hogg has commissioned a short film which you can watch below.
 
It contains interviews with Sarah Whitcher who has battled alcohol problems since being a teenager.
 
Sarah first met Mr Hogg at a public surgery event where she explained how the availability of cheap alcohol had led her into a life of addiction and then crime.
 
Now recovering, she wants to help Mr Hogg tackle these issues and has a clear message.
 
"When I was 18 I was getting into trouble," she said.
 
"I was going out drinking. I wasn't really getting the support that I needed at the time and I don't feel that people really helped me.
 
"I don't think the other services really understood what my problem was. I want to help other young people to stop them going through the routes that I have gone through, because it's not a life.
 
"It's a vicious circle and you get into that and it's hard to get out of. A lot of it can lead to death. Drinking can lead to death. It's a consequence of how much you have to drink with obviously the cheap alcohol at the present time in supermarkets."

The impact of 'pre-loading' is also highlighted in the film by Dr Adrian Barton from Plymouth University.
 
Dr Barton has carried out research in the city, mainly with students, and has concluded that drinking cheap alcohol at home before going on to pubs and clubs much later has created a 'cultural shift' in drinking patterns which has impacted on crime and disorder on our streets.
 
"I think we need to stop basing our policy on a pub / club model," he said. "It's flawed and doesn't reflect reality.
 
"We need to recognise that, if we're serious about the night-time economy, you have to recognise where alcohol is being consumed, and it would appear for the 17-25 year olds that the bulk of the alcohol is being consumed at home.
 
"I think we need to recognise that, and begin to engage with supermarkets to get them to think about the impact the alcohol they are selling is having on the night-time economy."
 
Watch the film here:




1:32pm 5th March 2014

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