max temp: 16°C

min temp: 13°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Ipswich: Reducing the Strength campaign hailed at national conference in Wherstead

13:52 05 March 2014

Back row from left to right: Chief Inspector Andrew Mason, Simon Aalders, Mike Nicholas, David Paterson, Shane Brennan.  Front row from left to right: Henry Ashworth, David Ellesmere, Roger Grosvenor.

Back row from left to right: Chief Inspector Andrew Mason, Simon Aalders, Mike Nicholas, David Paterson, Shane Brennan. Front row from left to right: Henry Ashworth, David Ellesmere, Roger Grosvenor.


A national summit held in Ipswich to celebrate the pioneering effort to banish the sale of super-strength, low-cost alcohol in the town was a “fantastic success”, police said.


More than 200 delegates from across the UK heard how the Reducing the Strength initiative has successfully tackled street drinking in the town.

The trailblazing project was set up by police and partner agencies including the East of England Co-op. Since it began it has attracted the attention of constabularies and councils throughout Britain.

Some have already replicated the scheme which aims to prevent the excesses of street drinking, make a better environment for the public and businesses, and help vulnerable alcoholics into rehab.

Organisations from across the country and representatives from the drinks’ industry gathered at Wherstead Park, Wherstead, for the first national Reducing the Strength conference on Tuesday.

Delegates heard how the voluntary initiative in Ipswich has achieved significant results as part of a wider campaign tackling street drinking in the town.

Two thirds of the town’s 147 off-licensed stores are now signed up to the initiative and the number of reports of street drinking in the town continues to reduce.

The conference heard how the number of recognised members of the street drinking community has reduced by more 50%, dropping from 70 in 2011 to 31.

Since the launch of the campaign in September 2012, organisers have been inundated with requests for information and assistance from police forces and councils across the UK that have been looking to emulate its success.

Chief Inspector Andrew Mason said the conference was a “fantastic success”.

He said: “We are delighted with the number of people who attended from all over the UK, and with the extremely interesting presentations given by experts from organisations affected by Reducing the Strength.

“It was important for us to hold this event as a chance to give all the people who have shown an interest a comprehensive update on why we introduced the campaign, how we did it, and what it has achieved.

“But also, crucially, we wanted to host an interesting debate on the range of issues and debates it has initiated and to clarify our specific aims and intentions.

“We identified a serious problem with street drinking in Ipswich, which was affecting individuals and communities and we had to take action.

“We have worked with our local businesses and asked them to join us, voluntarily, in removing specific products from their shelves.”

Presentations were delivered by a spokesman for the association of convenience stores, the head of public affairs and corporate responsibility for Heineken UK, and the chief executive of the Portman Group – the responsibility body for drinks producers in the UK.

In addition a representative from Thames Reach, a London-based charity helping the homeless and vulnerable, addressed the audience.

Speakers also included Chief Inspector Andrew Mason, of Suffolk Constabulary, who has been one of the main driving forces behind the Reducing The Strength campaign, along with Roger Grosvenor of East of England Co-op and Ipswich Borough Council leader David Ellesmere.

Ch Insp Mason added: “The local problems experienced by the delegates who attended on Tuesday will differ widely, but the community issues caused by street drinking and the consumption of super-strength alcohol are very similar in all areas.

“I hope delegates have been able to take away some ideas and considerations for tackling issues in their towns and cities.

“We have seen our campaign spread out to Lowestoft, Bury St Edmunds and Haverhill and will be looking to further roll it out across Suffolk.”



  • Thats it, jump on the band wagon... increase the price per unit of alcohol so that those who exhibit control are tarred with the same brush as problem drinkers and "street drinkers" (a dissmisive derogatory term IMHO). Increase the profit for the taxman and the monopoly breweries, and reduce choice for the ever squeezed masses..... very socially responsible of you (NOT), and all for the price of free publicity.

    Report this comment

    Vincent Quill

    Wednesday, March 5, 2014

  • It is not only "street drinkers" who have addiction problems with the super strength but low price alcohol. I know a lad in his 20's who gave up his job because he could not function at work due to his drinking of these big bottles of cheap cider and he lives at home with family.

    Report this comment

    The original Victor Meldrew

    Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

A seal boarded Terry Davey's boat in the River Orwell.

A 71-year-old rower was joined by an unexpected companion while taking on a life-long dream to scull solo from Woodbridge to Ipswich in a boat of his own design and building.

A man who fell from a roof in Suffolk was airlifted to hospital this morning with potentially life-threatening injuries.

Programme Name: The Michael McIntyre Chatshow - TX: n/a - Episode: n/a (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: Michael McIntyre Michael McIntyre - (C) Open Mike - Photographer: unknown

An Essex mum whose waters broke during a live Michael McIntyre show questioned whether her favourite comedian would trigger labour while travelling to the event.

A broken down train between Diss and Norwich caused the disruption

Terry Kidgell is staging a star-studded show at the Ipswich Regent on Monday, October 12, in aid of Macmillan after he was diagnosed with terminal bowl cancer. One of those appearing will be his niece Robyn Mellor, currently starring on London's West End. The other will be America’s Got Talent 2015 winner Paul Zerdin.
Terry with his niece Robyn.

What would you do if you were told you had just months to live? For Terry Kidgell, diagnosed with terminal bowel cancer in August, the answer was simple – throw a charity gala in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.

Save the Duke Share Launch, led by campaigners Sarah Caston and Lucy Batchelor-Wylam

A community campaign launched at the end of August to save a village’s pub has raised more than 40% of the money it needs.

Nick Alston, Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex, and Stephen Kavanagh, Chief Constable of Essex Police, announced plans for the Essex Police property estate.

Up to 15 police stations in Essex could be axed as the county’s force admits its property estate is “haemorrhaging money”.

Police are appealing for witnesses after a fail to stop collision on the A14 at Nacton.

Nick Alston, Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex, announced plans for the Essex Police property estate.

Union bodies described the announcement that cuts are being made to frontline services at Essex Police as “sad” – and warned more cuts could be yet to come.

One of the cats who died last week

Pet owners in Essex are being urged to remain vigilant after four cats died from suspected poisoning within just three days of each other in the same Harwich street.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages