A major conference in Durham today has called for changes in the licensing laws for alcohol. The key outcomes of the conference are expected to form the basis of a debate in Parliament.
Over one hundred people from decision-making bodies met with the North East’s three Police and Crime Commissioners at the Durham Centre in Belmont to hear about the consequences of excessive alcohol consumption, and to share ideas about how consumption might be reduced. As well as the Police and Crime Commissioners, speakers at the event included:
– Jon Foster, Senior Research and Policy Officer, Institute of Alcohol Studies
– Professor Dorothy Newbury Birch, Professor of Alcohol and Public Health Research, Teesside University
– Colin Shevills, Director of Balance
Ron Hogg, Police and Crime Commissioner for County Durham and Darlington, said \”There has been a 57% increasein alcohol-related deaths since 1994. As well as the tragic consequences for the families concerned, this means that resources are being used by the emergency services which could be better committed elsewhere.\”
Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Vera Baird, said \”It’s vital that we work together to reduce the cost to society of alcohol related harm by changing attitudes, deterring offenders and tackling irresponsible supply.
\”Many residents are calling for a lower drink drive limit, which in Scotland has led to a 17% reduction in drink-drive offences. I give my full support to this and, along with my fellow PCCs in the region, will continue campaigning for its implementation.\”
Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland, Barry Coppinger, said \”Our hardworking emergency services are all too aware of the long term effects of excessive drinking and the impact on their resources and our communities. This debate is long overdue and I firmly believe that our experts in the North East have a valid and relevant story to tell in helping to inform this debate.\”
I believe that a minimum unit price for alcohol would serve to reduce consumption and improve community safety.’
The three PCCs are working with local MPs to secure a debate in Parliament, to review the licensing laws.