A NEW strategy is being launched to tackle alcohol-related crime in Ellesmere Port & Neston.
Alcohol is a factor in the crimes of 60% of the offenders being supervised by Cheshire Probation Area – 10% higher than the UK average.
The blueprint, which covers everything from binge drinking to alcohol-fuelled violent crime, has been drawn up by Kim Thornden, assistant chief officer from Cheshire Probation.
It will be unveiled at a special conference – entitled Tackling Alcohol-Related Crime in Cheshire, Halton and Warrington – for probation staff, magistrates, the judiciary and partner agencies at Chester Racecourse on Saturday.
Miss Thornden said: “People in local communities across Cheshire and the North West feel intimidated and bothered by anti-social behaviour by young people drinking.
“What we also see is crime linked to alcohol misuse and we have a significant number of violent offenders who have alcohol-related problems.
“In Cheshire, we have also had some high profile cases that have attracted national attention around violence and alcohol abuse.
“One of them was the murder of Garry Newlove of Warrington, which was fuelled by misuse of alcohol.”
Cheshire has seen a rise in the number of offenders with a booze problem, while the North West has higher mortality rates and higher rates of hospital admissions both as a result of alcohol use.
Probation officers now have two new court sentences to help offenders tackle their addictions.
Those who are binge drinking, involved in anti-social behaviour, causing criminal damage or getting into fights will be made subject to an Alcohol Activity Requirement to ensure they have specialist alcohol-related intervention.
Miss Thornden explained: “It’s not just about giving people facts and figures about the dangers of drinking. It’s also about exploring what works for that particular person and galvanising them to take action in their own life.”
Another intervention being offered is the Alcohol Treatment Requirement for serious alcohol abusers, which has been successfully piloted in two county areas and will now be available across Cheshire.
Other speakers at the conference will include Cheshire’s assistant chief constable Garry Shewan; JP John Bache, a consultant in A&E emergency medicine at Mid Cheshire Hospitals; Nick Heather, Emeritus Professor of Alcohol and Other Drug Studies at Northumbria University; Steve Collett, chief officer with Cheshire Probation; and JP and probation board member Leslie Robinson.