A NEW strategy is being launched to tackle the massive problems caused by alcohol-related crime in Chester and Ellesmere Port.

It’s been revealed that alcohol is a factor in the crimes of 60 per cent of the offenders being supervised by the Cheshire Probation Area – 10 per cent 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 of the Cheshire Probation Area.

It will be unveiled at a special conference for probation staff, magistrates, the judiciary and partner agencies at Chester Racecourse on Saturday, January 31.

The event, Tackling Alcohol-Related Crime in Cheshire, Halton and Warrington, is being organised by Cheshire Probation Area and Ms Thornden will be one of the keynote speakers.

Ms 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, from Warrington, which was fuelled by misuse of alcohol.

“In Cheshire, we have seen a rise in the number of offenders that have alcohol as a problem linked to their offending.

“Nationally, around 48 per cent offenders who are on probation have alcohol related problems – in Cheshire, that is at nearly 60%.

“For offenders who are binge drinking, involved in anti-social behaviour, causing criminal damage or getting into fights, we need to reduce that alcohol use to impact on re-offending.

“What we have created for those particular types of offenders is a new Court sentence called an Alcohol Activity Requirement to ensure that offenders have specialist alcohol-related intervention.

“Another intervention we’re offering is the Alcohol Treatment Requirement which again is a new and additional sentence that we’re offering to the Courts.

Other speakers include:

Garry Shewan - Assistant Chief Constable, Cheshire Constabulary

John Bache, JP, FRCS, Consultant in Accident and Emergency Medicine, Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Trust

Nick Heather - Emeritus Professor of Alcohol and Other Drug Studies at Northumbria University.