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Colchester: Problem alcohol initiative making progress

Magdalen Street Tesco Express Team Leader Andrew Carter, Tesco employee Carron Davies, PCSO Aaron Hunter, Safer Colchester Partnership's Caroline Clarke and Pc Michael Lee team up for the reducing the strength campaign that urges supermarkets and off-licences not to sell super-strength alcohol.

Magdalen Street Tesco Express Team Leader Andrew Carter, Tesco employee Carron Davies, PCSO Aaron Hunter, Safer Colchester Partnership's Caroline Clarke and Pc Michael Lee team up for the reducing the strength campaign that urges supermarkets and off-licences not to sell super-strength alcohol.

National supermarket chains have backed an initiative in Colchester to stop promoting super-strength alcohol.

The Reduce the Strength campaign is being promoted by Essex Police, Colchester Borough Council and the Open Road charity, along with other partners.

It calls on shops to remove cheap drinks with high levels of alcohol from the shelves, or to make them less attractive to buy - for example by increasing the price or not offering discount or bulk-buy deals.

Essex Police have this week been visiting a number of off-licences and convenience stores around the town in another push to get more retailers to sign up to the initiative.

The scheme has already been backed by some national retail chains including Tesco, Marks and Spencer, Budgens and The Cooperative.

Chief Inspector Richard Phillibrown, district commander for Colchester, said: “We are looking at ways of reducing the number of alcohol-related incidents of crime and anti-social behaviour associated with street drinking.

“Alcohol related anti-social behaviour can make the public feel very intimidated, alarmed and distressed. We need to do all we can to ensure Colchester can be enjoyed by all.”

Tim Young, borough councillor for community safety, added: “It is a real coup for us to have Tesco on board and taking responsibility for tackling this issue.

“I hope this will encourage others to get involved as well with a bandwagon effect.

“We know this is a growing problem, and the police deserve a lot of credit as well for their work behind the scenes to get these retailers on board.”

Mr Young added the Reduce the Strength initiative was just one string to the council’s bow when it came to tackling problem drinking within Colchester.

“Our recent section 222 injunction, which bans drinking in the town centre, has seen some real success,” he said.

“Initially we were issuing warnings and since then a lot of people have been more amenable to taking on the advice and support we also offer, with the help of Open Road and other groups.

“With our street drinkers’ project we have a joined-up approach in Colchester which has led to results, and shows the benefit of partnership working.”

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