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Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategy 2008-11



Alcohol Harm Reduction
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          Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategy



1.    Introduction                                      2

2.    Background                                        2

3.    Strategic aims                                    3

4.    Style of delivery                                 4

5.    Enforcement                                       4

6.    Prevention                                        5

7.    Intelligence                                      7

8.    Young people                                      7

9.    Communication                                     8

10.   Governance & performance                          9

Appendix A References, guidance material & signposts

Appendix B      Alcohol harm reduction schematic
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1. Introduction

This document sets out Cambridgeshire Constabulary’s alcohol harm reduction
strategy. It is entitled “harm reduction” because it recognises the notion that alcohol
related-crime and offending have wide-ranging consequences which encompass not
just crime, but other harms to the individual, the family and the wider community.
Reducing alcohol-related crime and anti-social behaviour (ASB) therefore makes a
contribution to the wider harm-reduction agenda - for example, harm to the health of

This strategy has been informed by relevant statute 1 and key publications at both a
local 2 and national 3 level. Whilst it recognises the achievements of Cambridgeshire
Constabulary and other agencies in the area of alcohol harm reduction it also
acknowledges that more work lies ahead. This strategy represents our commitment
to the continuation of that work.

2. Background

The links between alcohol, crime and ASB are well documented. The Government’s
alcohol strategy Safe Sensible Social and the new violent crime action plan,
Reducing Harm Protecting the Public 4 highlight the role of alcohol as a causal factor
in violence, criminal damage and ASB. The British Crime Survey (BCS) also shows
that people are increasingly likely to think that alcohol related disorder is a problem
and that people being drunk or rowdy in a public place is a significant problem. 5

The phrase ‘alcohol-related crime’ is a popular rather than legal term and refers to
two categories of offences. These are alcohol-specific offences such as drunkenness
or driving with excess alcohol and offences where the consumption of alcohol is
thought to have played a role of some kind in the commission of the offence i.e. that
the offender was under the influence of alcohol at the time. These offences are
generally ones involving violence 6 , public disorder, criminal damage and ASB.
 The Licensing Act 2003 requires licensing authorities to carry out its functions with a view to
promoting the four licensing objectives i.e. the prevention of crime and disorder; public safety;
the prevention of public nuisance and the protection of children from harm. The implications of
the Children Act 2004 will be explored later in section 8.

  Key local documents include are the Cambridgeshire Constabulary Homicide Prevention
Strategy, the Every Child Matters Strategy and the Domestic Violence Standard Operating
Procedure, ASB Control Strategy action plan. Two other key local documents are the
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Local Alcohol Strategies.
  Key national documents are Safe Sensible Social the Next Steps in the Alcohol Strategy;
Safe Sensible Social Local Alcohol Strategy Implementation Toolkit; Saving Lives. Reducing
Harm. Protecting the Public. An Action Plan for Tackling Violence 2008 – 11; Youth Alcohol
Action Plan; Review of the Licensing Act; National Audit Office reducing the risk of violent
crime; Cutting Crime. A New Partnership 2008 -11; National Community Safety Plan 2008 –
  Home Office (2008) Saving Lives. Reducing Harm. Protecting the Public. An Action Plan for
Tackling Violence 2008 – 11.
 Safe Sensible Social, p24
 Violence includes public space and private space violence. Of all violent incidents reported
16% of those are characterised as domestic violence related. Offenders were thought to be
under the influence of alcohol in nearly half of incidents of domestic violence (46%) and
acquaintance violence (44%) – Safe Sensible Social, p22

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Safe Sensible Social requires agencies to work in partnership to deliver three things:

    •       To ensure the wide and effective use of laws and licensing powers to tackle
            alcohol-fuelled crime and disorder, protect young people and bear down on
            irresponsibly managed premises;
    •       To sharpen the focus on the minority of drinkers 7 who cause or experience
            the most harm to themselves, their communities and their families;
    •       Partnership 8 working to shape an environment that actively promotes
            sensible drinking.

The aim is to deliver “significant and measurable” reductions over a sustained period
of time in the harm caused by alcohol. The success of this strategy will focus on
reducing the types of harm that are of most concern to the public, including 9 :

    •       A reduction in the levels of alcohol-related violent crime, disorder and anti-
            social behaviour;
    •       A reduction in the public’s perceptions of drunk and rowdy behaviour;
    •       A reduction in chronic and acute ill health caused by alcohol, resulting in
            fewer alcohol-related accidents and hospital admissions.

All partners have a role to play in reducing the harm caused by alcohol with specific
agencies leading in certain areas 10 . These activities will be co-ordinated at the local
level by the local alcohol strategy 11 to ensure that actions reinforce and complement
each other.

3. Strategic aims

Whilst acknowledging our role as key partners in the delivery of the national and
local alcohol strategies and whilst not diminishing the part we play in the
achievement of their numerous and varied aims, this strategy focuses on our key
business areas. It is through these we can make most impact. Our strategic aims
therefore are:

        •    To reduce alcohol- related crime and anti-social behaviour
        •    To reduce the fear of alcohol- related crime and anti-social behaviour

  These are: young people under 18 many of whom are drinking more alcohol than their
counterparts did a decade ago, 18- 24 year old binge drinkers who are responsible for the
majority of crime and disorder and harmful drinkers, many of whom don’t realise that their
drinking patterns damage their physical and mental health and may be causing harm to
  This partnership includes the police, local authorities, prison and probation staff, the NHS,
voluntary organisations, the alcohol industry, the wider business community, the media and,
of course, local communities themselves.
  Safe. Sensible. Social. p48. Other outcomes include an increase in the public’s awareness
of the risks associated with excessive consumption and how to get help and reductions in the
most harmful types of alcohol consumption.
   For example, the police leading on enforcement. See Safe Sensible Social, p69 for a full
   From April 2008 all Crime & Disorder Reduction Partnerships (of whom the police are a
statutory member) are required by law to have a strategy to tackle crime, disorder and
substance misuse (including alcohol related disorder and misuse) in their area.
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4. Style of delivery

Our strategy will be delivered through our people, our business processes and
through effective inter-agency working. The Constabulary is committed to:

     •   Use the National Intelligence Model to deliver a combination of prevention,
         intelligence and enforcement activity;
     •   Use engagement and citizen focus to understand the impact of alcohol-
         related crime and ASB in neighbourhoods;
     •   Use collaborative problem solving to deliver sustainable solutions to alcohol-
         related crime and ASB in neighbourhoods;
     •   Use effective information-sharing to base our activity and resources around
         ‘problem’ premises, spaces and people;
     •   Ensure synergy with other strategies e.g. Homicide Prevention, Every Child
         Matters, Anti-Social Behaviour which will ensure delivery across a range of
         business areas;
     •   Reviewing its partnership structures to ensure they are capable of delivering
         our strategic aims;
     •   Improving performance through applied knowledge. 12

5. Enforcement

The main role of the police service is “leading enforcement activity” 13 and ensuring
the effective use of legislation to reduce alcohol related-crime and disorder. A recent
review of the Licensing Act 2003 concluded that the powers contained in the act were
not being used effectively 14 and that more needed to be done in the areas of
enforcement and of licensing review. The Constabulary therefore will:

     •   Make full and effective use of the tools and powers that were introduced by
         the Licensing Act 2003, the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006 and other
         related legislation; 15

     •   Ensure the law relating to the irresponsible sale of alcohol is properly
         enforced and well targeted;

     •   Ensure that the lessons learned from local Alcohol Misuse Enforcement
         Campaigns and from good practice elsewhere are put into practice 16 . For

   Practitioners don't just need to know what works but also how and why something works if
they are to understand and use the information effectively.
   Safe Sensible Social, p69
  Statement by Andy Burnham Minister, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport: “Our
main conclusion is that people are using the freedoms but people are not sufficiently using the
considerable powers granted by the Act to tackle problems, and that there is a need to
rebalance action towards enforcement and crack down on irresponsible behaviour.” This was
also echoed in a report by the National Audit Office (2008) Reducing the risk of violent crime
   A full guide to the relevant legislation can be found in Home Office (2008) A Practical Guide
For Dealing With Alcohol Problems: What You Need To Know.
   For example see the Police and Crime Standards Directorate (2006) A practitioners’ guide
for dealing with problem licensed providers

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         example, the use of “early interventions” to prevent unacceptable alcohol-
         related behaviour from escalating into violence and disorder; 17

     •   Ensure our staff understand the legislation around alcohol-related offending
         and that they are confident to use it effectively. A variety of learning and
         guidance will be provided to suit different roles and responsibilities;

     •   Work with partners in the broader criminal justice system to ensure
         appropriate penalties for alcohol-related offending;

     •   Use national and local campaigns to raise awareness of the role of alcohol in
         road accidents involving death or serious injury 18 and to encourage people to
         report those people who drink and drive with excess alcohol. Work to tackle
         drink driving will be a core priority within the Roads Policing role.

     •   Ensure that Basic Command Units (BCUs) form tactical action plans to deal
         with those licensed premises which have been identified as most problematic.

6. Prevention

A fifth of all violent incidents are committed around pubs or clubs 19 . Drunk or rowdy
behaviour facilitated by the poor management of licensed premises can significantly
affect people’s perceptions of safety. The Constabulary therefore will:

     •   Adopt a pro-active partnership approach to the management of licensed
         premises using licensing reviews to their full potential and requiring conditions
         which promote the objectives of the Licensing Act 2003;

     •   Deploy tactics to reduce offending in and around licensed premises 20 . These
         will include: manipulation of the physical environment, 21 controlling the social
         atmosphere, 22 controlling the supply of alcohol, 23 controlling the activities of
         drinkers 24 and taking measures to reduce potential injury; 25

  Jill Dando Institute of Crime Science (2006) Tackling Violent Crime Programme 2006
Good Practice Guide. Early interventions would include a “direction to leave” within the meaning S27 of the
Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006, confiscation of alcohol and the use of Penalty Notices for Disorder.
   Estimates for 2005 suggest that 6% of road casualties and 17% of all road deaths occurred
when someone was driving while over legal limit for alcohol. Both Cambridgeshire and
Peterborough have reductions in those killed or seriously injured on our roads as priorities
within their respective Local Area Agreements.
   Speech by Home Secretary Feb 2008
   See Cambridgeshire Constabulary Homicide Prevention Strategy and Cambridgeshire
Constabulary Management of Licensed Premises Policy (forthcoming) for more detail.
   For example, ensuring that the design and spacing of furniture does not encourage
customer crowding.
   For example, ensuring premises are well-maintained and that door supervisors have the
skills to diffuse potentially violent situations.
   For example, restrictions on ‘happy hours’ and vertical drinking in high risk establishments.
   For example, controlling the numbers of drinkers entering the premises and refusing to sell
alcohol to those who appear intoxicated.
   For example the introduction of polycarbonate drinkware and the prohibition of bottle-
served alcohol in high risk premises.
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     •   Continue to work with local authorities and other partners to manage the
         night-time economy 26 . This includes: joint agency inspection visits to licensed
         premises when appropriate; the promotion of personal safety messages for
         those using city centres; preventing the late night gathering of crowds of
         intoxicated individuals by staggering closing times and providing reliable
         transport services to prevent excessive queuing at times when people are
         leaving pubs or clubs in large numbers;

     •   Monitor the cumulative impact 27 that licensed premises may have in areas
         and work with licensing authorities and licensees to limit any negative effects
         of further licensing applications;

     •   Work with licensees to encourage the better management of premises
         through the introduction of schemes such as Pubwatch and Best Bar None 28 ;

     •   Identify where disproportionality linked to offender nationality exists and use
         engagement and education to mitigate its effects. Work will continue in
         relation to drink drive issues and migrant workers;

     •   Carefully consider marketing around this strategy, its aims and successes to
         prevent unnecessarily raising the fear of alcohol-related crime and disorder.

One of the aims of Reducing Harm Protecting the Public is for agencies to work
together to identify those individuals who are involved in or at risk of involvement in
serious violence either as perpetrators or victims. The police deal more with binge
drinkers who often respond better to brief advice sessions (known as brief
interventions) where alcohol specialists can educate them about the effects of their
drinking and the links between it and criminal behaviour. The Constabulary therefore

     •   Use opportunities to identify individuals who are misusing alcohol and to take
         advantage of intervention and referral opportunities 29 . Conditional
         cautioning 30 will be used to steer offenders into this type of intervention.

   Good work in this respect is already underway in Peterborough with the Peterborough
Evening Partnership and in Cambridge with the Cambridge City Violent Crime Task Group.
   Cumulative impact concerns the potential impact on the promotion of the licensing
objectives where concentrations of similar licensed premises are located in one area.
Applicants need to address the issues of concern in their operating schedules in order to
show that they would not add to the “cumulative impact”.
   Both of these schemes are voluntary and seek to provide for a safer social drinking
   Intervention opportunities can range from brief advice through to referral to alcohol
specialists in treatment and interventions.
   The scheme is aimed at cases where the public interest would be met more effectively by
offenders carrying out specified conditions (which are attached to a Caution) rather than being
prosecuted. The conditions must help rehabilitate the offender and/ or ensure that he or she
makes reparation for the effects of the offence on the victim or the wider community.
Offenders who fail to comply with the conditions will usually be prosecuted for the original
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7. Intelligence

It has long been recognised that there is an over-reliance on police data in providing
a picture of alcohol-related crime and disorder. It is clear that a wider range of data
sources are required if a more reliable profile of alcohol-related offending is to be
obtained. Only though this can we target our resources at the most problematic
premises, spaces and people. The Constabulary will therefore:

     •   Improve our understanding of alcohol-related information kept by partners
         and use that to gain greater understanding of alcohol-related offending;

     •   Learn from the good work undertaken elsewhere 31 and obtain information from
         Accident & Emergency departments;

     •   Use the maximum range of data sources from our own systems and seek to
         improve data collection around alcohol-related offending; 32

     •   Use partnership information sources to assist in the creation of a local alcohol
         profile which will then assist the police to target resources and align patterns
         of working to times of greatest need;

     •   Use community engagement, the Signal Crime Perspective 33 and community
         intelligence 34 to understand and respond to concerns about the local impact of
         alcohol in neighbourhoods.

8. Young people and alcohol

Young people 35 have a particular focus within our strategy. The Licensing Act 2003
contains as one of its four fundamental objectives – the protection of children and
young people from harm. The police also have obligations under the Children Act
2004 toward children and young people 36 . The government’s Public Service

   For example the “Cardiff model” for data sharing which uses Accident & Emergency data
from all non-accidental attendees to add depth to police data. Significant reductions in
alcohol-related offending have been achieved using this methodology. Information taken from
a presentation on the Cardiff Model given by Simon Moore & Jon Shepherd (Violence
Research Group) Cardiff University at Go East Regional Alcohol Conference on 10/03/2008
   For example, the “sobriety” field has recently been activated within the crime recording
system and consideration will be given to implementing the “last drink” questionnaire to those
arrested for alcohol-related offences.
   The key idea of the Signal Crime Perspective is that some criminal and disorderly incidents
function as warning signals to people about the distribution of risks to their security in
everyday life. Some crimes and disorderly behaviours matter more than others in shaping
people’s perceptions of risk.
   “Community intelligence is local information which, when assessed, provides intelligence
on issues that affect neighbourhoods and informs both strategic and operational perspectives
in the policing of local communities. Information may be direct or indirect and come from a
diverse range of sources including the community and partner agencies.” Taken from: ACPO
(2006) Practice Advice On Professionalising The Business Of Neighbourhood Policing.
  “Young people” is a generic term describing those under the age of 18.
  S10 and S11 of the Children Act, 2004 requires “relevant partners” (of whom the police and
police authority are one) to co-operate to improve the “well-being” of children and to ensure all
their organisational functions are discharged with regard to the need to “safeguard” and
promote the “welfare” of children.
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Agreement 14 also seeks to reduce the proportion of young people frequently using
illicit drugs, alcohol or volatile substances 37 .

While the proportion of young people who are drinking has declined in recent years,
those who do drink are consuming more alcohol, more often 38 . Young people are
emotionally and physically less able to cope with the effects of drinking alcohol which
therefore makes them more likely to engage in a range of high risk activities which
include offending and unprotected sex.

Underage drinking and drinking by young adults is perceived as a real problem by
the public. Over half of those who reported witnessing drunken or rowdy behaviour
said it was due to young people drinking in the streets and other public places. 39

In line with the Youth Alcohol Action Plan 40 the Constabulary therefore will:

     •    Focus on enforcement and confiscation activity to prevent young people
          drinking in public places;
     •    Focus on irresponsible under-ages sales, which will include test purchasing,
          promotion of Cambridgeshire “Think 21” alcohol project 41 and other proof of
          age standards schemes such as PASS;
     •    Extend the use of Acceptable Behaviour Contracts (ABCs), Parenting
          Contracts and Parenting Orders;
     •    Work with partners to educate young people about the risks of excessive
          consumption. 43
     •    Use opportunities which arise to make referrals to other agencies in
          appropriate cases

9.       Communication

A communications plan will be created which ensures that staff are aware of their
roles and responsibilities within the strategy. Importantly this plan will also consider
the best way to convey messages to the public about our successes without in so
doing raising the fear of alcohol-related crime and disorder.

   HM Treasury (2007) PSA Delivery Agreement 14: Increase the number of children and
young people on the path to success
   Safe Sensible Social, p18
   Safe Sensible Social, p20
   Dept Children Schools & Families (2008) Youth Alcohol Action Plan
   Think 21 is an initiative which encourages retailers to refuse to sell age restricted products to anyone
who appears to be 21 years old and does not have an acceptable form of photo identification. For more
info see:
   The proof of age standards scheme (PASS) is approved by the Association of Chief Police Officers,
the Home Office and the Trading Standards Institute
   For example the St Neots Community Alcohol partnership
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10. Governance and performance

The outcomes of the strategy will be measured across a range of statutory
indicators 44 and Local Area Agreements and 45 also driven by a Public Service
Agreement (PSA25) which aims to reduce the harm caused by alcohol (and drugs).
Some of these targets are police only, others the police share with partnerships.
What is clear, though, is that they will only be achieved through full and committed
engagement with the local alcohol strategies with each agency and group delivering
on its obligations.

There are specific indicators for alcohol-related harm:

     •   Alcohol-harm related hospital admission rates;
     •   Perceptions of drunk or rowdy behaviour as a problem;
     •   Substance misuse by young people;
     •   Assault with injury crime rate.

Other indicators are more general but still contain elements relevant to how we deal
with alcohol issues 46 . For example:

     •   Perceptions of ASB;
     •   Serious violent crime rate;
     •   Understanding local concerns;
     •   % of people killed or seriously injured on the roads;
     •   Repeat incidents of domestic violence;
     •   % of people who feel they can influence decisions in their locality;
     •   Dealing with local concerns.

   These include the National Indicator Set for Local Government and measures within the
Assessments of Policing & Community Safety.
   The Cambridgeshire & Peterborough LAAs contain a number of indicators relating to
alcohol including: perceptions of ASB, repeat incident of domestic violence, substance misuse
by young people (Cambs only), numbers killed or seriously injured in road traffic collisions
and the percentage of people who can influence decision in their locality.
   There are also a number of other National Indicators that relate to alcohol abuse
See appendix A of Alcohol Concern fact sheet at:

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Appendix A
References, Guidance Material & Signposts


ACPO (2006) Practice Advice On Professionalising the Business of Neighbourhood
Policing, Wyboston, NCPE

HM Government (2007) Safe. Sensible. Social. The next steps in the National
Alcohol Strategy

Home Office (2007) National Community Safety Plan 2008 – 2011

Home Office (2007) Cutting Crime. A New Partnership 2008 -11

Home Office (2008) Saving Lives. Reducing Harm. Protecting the Public: An Action
Plan for Tackling Violence 2008-11

Hough, M., et al, The impact of the Licensing Act 2003 on levels of crime and
disorder: an evaluation, ICPR, King’s College London

Guidance material

Assessments of Policing and Community Safety consultation pages

Cambridgeshire Constabulary (2007) Anti-Social Behaviour Strategic Action Plan

Cambridgeshire Constabulary (2007) Homicide Prevention Strategy

Cambridgeshire Constabulary (2008) Every Child Matters Strategy

Dept Children Schools & Families (2008) Youth Alcohol Action Plan

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Department of Culture, Media & Sport (2008) Evaluation Of The Impact Of The
Licensing Act 2003licensing act

Home Office (2008) A Practical Guide For Dealing With Alcohol Problems: What You
Need To Know

Jill Dando Institute of Crime Science (2006) Tackling Violent Crime Programme 2006
Good Practice Guide

Licensing Act 2003

National Indicators for Local Authorities and Local Authority Partnerships

National Audit Office (2008) Reducing the risk of violent crime

Ministerial Statement by Andy Burnham

Police and Crime Standards Directorate (2006) A practitioners’ guide for dealing with
problem licensed providers

Police performance – Statutory Performance Indicators

PSA 14: Increase the number of children and young people on the path to success

PSA 23 – make communities safer

PSA 25 - reduce harm caused by alcohol and drugs

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Alcohol-related violence -

Alcohol concern –

Effective practice in the night time economy

Institute of alcohol studies -

Problem solving -

Tackling violent crime programme

Tackling alcohol disorder in town centres

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                                                   Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategy
                                                                 Overarching Aims:

                                           To reduce alcohol-related crime and anti-social behaviour
                                           To reduce the fear of alcohol-related crime and anti-social behaviour

                             Style of delivery          Prevention             Intelligence          Enforcement                Young people
                           Citizen focus to         Pro-active            Improve                Full & effective use of
                           understand the          management of          understanding of       tools & powers            Prevent young people
                           impact of alcohol on    Licensed premises      alcohol-related data                             drinking in public
                           neighbourhoods                                 held by partners       Using ‘lessons
      Reducing alcohol                             Tactics to reduce                             learned’ and good
      related crime and    Collaborative           offending in/around                           practice                  Prevention of under-age
      anti-social          problem solving for     premises               Use of accident &                                sales
      behaviour            sustainable                                    emergency data         Early interventions
                           solutions               Manage night time
                                                   economy                                       Guidance for staff on     Extend use of ABCs &
      Reducing the fear                                                   Partnership data to                              Parenting Contracts
                           NIM activity based                             inform local alcohol   effective enforcement
      of alcohol related   around problem          Encouragement of
      crime and anti-                                                     profile
                           premises, spaces        Pubwatch and Best                             Working with other        Education about
      social behaviour     and people              Bar None schemes                              criminal justice          excessive consumption
                                                                          Community              agencies
                           Synergy with other      Opportunities for      engagement to
                           strategies              alcohol intervention   understand alcohol     Drink drive               Opportunities for alcohol
                                                   referrals              impacts in             campaigns                 intervention referrals
                           Effective partnership                          neighbourhoods
                           delivery structures     Conditional

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