This last week has been the ACPO alcohol awareness week where nationally each of the police forces concentrates on initiatives to tackle alcohol related crime and to raise awareness around the consequences of excessive drinking. Not only is there an implication around crime but also excessive drinking adds to health problems and is a ticking time bomb that may go off in years to come. When you are young you think of yourself as invincible and looking ahead to the effects in later life is not on people’s radars. The statistics are quite shocking with 50% of all violent crime being linked to alcohol; whilst not the sole cause it is very often a contributory factor. When I was a custody sergeant I remember on a regular basis detainees waking up and not being able to remember how they ended up on the receiving end of our hospitality. The most amusing story (although not at the time for the victims) involved a call from a family to report they’d found a drunken man asleep in their garage. Officers attended and moved him on to then receive a second call to say he had returned, had got into the house and had gone to sleep in one of their bedrooms. When police tried to help him out of the door he became violent and was arrested. The next morning it transpired he had got so drunk he had gone back to his old house rather than his current address leaving him very embarrassed Stories like this are funny to relate looking back but very often there are more serious consequences which play out on our televisions.
This week my staff have been into schools speaking to young people about the dangers of alcohol misuse. On Monday night staff conducted a test purchase operation targeting supermarkets and it was pleasing to see them all pass. The last 2 operations targeted smaller off licensed premises and also pubs and again we had no fails. This is the first time we have seen this across the board which is very encouraging and these operations will continue. I noted a comment on our Facebook page asking us why we are not concentrating on catching real criminals. I do understand this comment especially if you have had your house burgled but these operations to prevent crime are important as we have to respond to assaults and antisocial behaviour so if we can reduce the numbers of these and the damage done to victims who are assaulted both domestically and whilst out for a night then it will free us up to spend more time on other things.
Other activities will be using the alcoblow which is like a wand that indicates if what appears like a can of coke contains any additional ingredients to tackle youth drinking on parks as well as confiscating alcohol. Breathalysers are being trialled at some of the pubs to try to discourage pre-loading and to support the door staff in some of their discussions with customers. If this is successful then I would like to see the scheme broadened. The strength of Melton is that we enjoy a close relationship with Pubwatch who are all committed to making Melton a good night out.
Next month sees the start of Octsober which is a chance to raise money for charity by abstaining for a month. This is great for your health and for a good cause so why not sign up or sponsor someone who has.