A POLITICIAN’S criticism of the police’s fight against under-age drinking has been called “unhelpful” by a senior officer.
Stuart Penketh, the Tory parliamentary candidate for Ellesmere Port & Neston, urged the police and council to do more to tackle the problem.
He spoke out after the Pioneer revealed earlier this month that binge drinking rates among Port teenagers were among the highest in the country.
The Port also has one of the UK’s highest rates of teens being admitted to hospital for drink-related illnesses.
Mr Penketh said: “Binge drinking is not only a nuisance but also a serious health issue. The police should be patrolling more areas on weekend nights to deal with drunken youths.
“The borough council needs to work with them in shutting down and revoking the licence of shops that sell alcohol to underage youths.
“If we ignore this problem we will be condemning future generations to health problems and a lack of discipline and self-control.”
Inspector Richard Rees said the comments were “not particularly helpful or constructive”, adding this was a national not just a local issue.
He explained: “We and the council have been dealing with under-age drinking and the resultant fallout for some time.
“This is not a short-term problem that is going to go away overnight but I can assure Mr Penketh and the local community that dealing with under-age drinking and the anti-social behaviour that results is our number one priority.”
Insp Rees said Mr Penketh was welcome to join officers for a weekend on patrol to see for himself how they are tackling the issue.
He was also invited him to join them on sting operations on off-licences, attend monthly multi-agency meetings or to go out with the police licensing officer.