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Ipswich: Reducing the Strength campaign hailed for cutting crime committed by street drinkers

10:46 21 July 2014

Reducing the Strength has led to a 43% in crime committed by street drinkers

Reducing the Strength has led to a 43% in crime committed by street drinkers

Archant

Crime committed by street drinkers has dramatically fallen thanks to a nationally-acclaimed campaign to banish super-strength alcohol from being sold in Ipswich.

More than 100 out of around 142 off licences and retailers across the town have taken the pledge not to sell low-cost, high-volume alcohol and signed up to the Reducing the Strength campaign. And according to figures in Suffolk’s first Health and Wellbeing annual report, the pioneering initiative has led to a 43% reduction of crime committed by street drinkers in a year.

Alan Murray, a member of the health and wellbeing board at Suffolk County Council, put the success of the initiative down to “partnership and persistence”.

He said: “It has got so many different partners involved. Alone we can do nothing but together we can achieve such a lot and this has proved that.

“It’s partnership work and persistence. After six months or a year you feel like giving up because the initial results are not great but if you do it year after year, that’s when you get the most value out of it.”

Reducing the Strength was launched in September 2012 as part of a multi-agency strategy to eradicate the anti-social problem behaviour of street drinkers which has serious effects on consumers and communities.

It was set up by police and partner agencies including the East of England Co-op, Suffolk Constabulary, Ipswich Borough Council and Suffolk County Council and is backed by the Ipswich Star and BBC Radio Suffolk.

Mr Murray added: “We are getting people to commit to rehab, with increasing numbers of people coming out and not drinking again.

“And there are a lot fewer street drinkers on the streets than there were before so the scheme is providing real value for money.

“It has had an immeasurable impact on Ipswich and other people feel better not seeing street drinkers around the town.”

Reducing the Strength won national recognition for being the “most innovative scheme” in the country in the first year after its launch.

“In terms of investment, the outcomes we are achieving and second to none,” Mr Murray said. “We are being asked to comment on other schemes across the county because of our success in Ipswich.”

8 comments

  • I don't think the picture of a young man sleeping with a wine bottle besides him is what you are trying to portray? But you and others like you such as the police are going a good job driving people into drinking Wine; a much more powerful substance. However, Co-op have a policy of not selling alcohol stronger that 6.5% yet they sell Henry Westons Cider at 8.2%. Is this not double standards and one the police have failed to stop? As for me I have been drinking Special Brew for a number of years - I am not a street drinker and drink at home instead; however, what you have succeeded in doing is that I have to buy this by the case now instead of as a 4 pack and if I buy two cases at a time I can get it delivered. So those who are determined to drink it will find a way somehow.

    Report this comment

    Scooby Doo

    Tuesday, July 22, 2014

  • waspie's wife..agree with Sentinel Red. Should be a condition of getting a licence...not in the scheme, no licence.

    Report this comment

    waspie

    Monday, July 21, 2014

  • I think it has to be said, if something is not illegal to sell, then why are some parties attempting to ban such sales?

    Report this comment

    rustic

    Monday, July 21, 2014

  • It needs to be all or nothing. If just 1 shop is still selling strong cheap alcohol it ruins the whole scheme. These street drinkers arn't stupid, they will know which shops the can still get the strong stuff from and just go there instead.

    Report this comment

    RC

    Monday, July 21, 2014

  • this scheme needs to be made a condition of licensing for off license premises. Not in the scheme No license.

    Report this comment

    Sentinel Red

    Monday, July 21, 2014

  • Its a complete joke... I thought it was a super-strength free town... but apparently over 40 retail units supply the stuff. In real terms, its an epic fail... Ipswich is a relatively small town and such a high number of retailers NOT on board means super-strength alcohol is readily available. Not knowing the locations of the offenders... most people are probably not much further than a quarter of a mile away... I am sure there are closer shops, but its hardly too discouraging to walk the extra 30 metres or so to the store which supplies it...

    Report this comment

    Ipswich Entrepreneur

    Monday, July 21, 2014

  • Surely time for another puff piece on Aspall Cyder, Ipswich Star? No difference in strength between Premier Cru and Frosty Jack's but plenty in price, image and the people who drink it. The Star needs to make up its mind which of side of the fence it's on.

    Report this comment

    paul e.

    Monday, July 21, 2014

  • I think the public have a right to know which off licences are refusing to cooperate with this initiative. I would like to make sure my custom only goes to businesses that care about their communities. Any chance you could let us know evening star, sure i am not the only one interested ....

    Report this comment

    Danny Brown

    Monday, July 21, 2014

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

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