Ipswich: Trailblazing bid to banish super-strength alcohol lauded as success
Ipswich’s trailblazing Reducing the Strength campaign is today being lauded as a success on the first anniversary of its launch.
Such has been the impact of the pioneering initiative to banish cut price super-strength alcohol and drive down street drinking-relating incidents other parts of the country have replicated the scheme.
Already places such as Nottingham, Portsmouth, and Hastings have followed suit, along with Sudbury in Suffolk.
Co-op stores have led the way among retailers by taking high-volume low-cost alcohol off their shelves across the county and beyond.
A majority of smaller retailers across Ipswich are also supporting the campaign and no longer sell super-strength alcohol.
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Earlier this year police said there had been a significant drop in incidents involving street drinkers in the town as a result.
Reducing the Strength made national headlines when it was launched in September last year and has continued to do so since.
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Today, Inspector Andrew Mason said: “We are really pleased with the success of the campaign so far, and are seeing some significant improvements being made in the town.
“We will now go away and look at our figures so that we can start to analyse its effects so far.
“We are 12 months into the campaign and still have a lot of work to do. The support we have received from our local retailers has been excellent, but we are still working with those who are yet to sign up to promote the huge community benefits involved in removing super strength alcohol from our stores.
“Our work with our partners in the health service also continues, so that we can help vulnerable individuals who are using super strength alcohol, taking them away from this lifestyle and providing the support they need.
“The national interest in Reducing the Strength has been huge, and we are still receiving numerous enquiries from our colleagues in police forces and councils across the UK. Schemes have been set up in areas such as Hastings, Nottingham and Portsmouth with many other areas hoping to do the same.”
The campaign, run by Suffolk Police, Ipswich Borough Council, Suffolk County Council, NHS Suffolk and the East of England Co-operative Society, is voluntary. It asks the owners of off-licensed premises to remove all beers, lagers and ciders that have an alcohol volume of 6.5% or more and are sold very cheaply, from their shelves.
Support has also come from a number of national retailers, including the East of England Co-op, Tesco, Martin McColl, Debenhams, Marks and Spencer, BHS, Waitrose, Sainsburys and Aldi.