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20 November 2013, 12:05
Portsmouth shops are being asked not to sell super-strength alcohol, to try to cut alcohol-related health problems and anti-social behaviour.
As part of a new initiative 'Reducing the Strength', Portsmouth off-licences are being asked by Portsmouth City Council and Hampshire Constabulary to stop selling any beer or cider over 6.5% in volume, not including premium products.
So far, 25 shops have agreed to take part in the scheme.
All of these stores will display a window sticker showing that they are part of the initiative and will not sell alcohol over 6.5%, excluding premium products.
Mr Sodha, owner of Kwiki Mart Food and Tipple says:
"I have lots of different stores around the city and some of them have problems with anti-social behaviour, so it was important for me to support this campaign to try and curb this behaviour by removing the super-strength alcohol.
"My shops rely on families coming in to buy their groceries and do their weekly shops; I want my customers to feel safe when they come in to one of my stores so that is why I have agreed to support this campaign.
"I do a lot of work within the community so it is really important for me to feel like I'm helping to contribute to make Portsmouth a safer place."
Bart Mackiewicz, owner of Fajny Sklep, says:
"When I was first approached by the council to support this campaign, I immediately agreed, there was no question for me.
"There can be quite a few problems with street drinkers and anti-social behaviour where my shops are, so I wanted to try and help to reduce this by taking the super-strength alcohol off my shelves.
"I have done this before in my stores in Bournemouth and am more than happy to work with the police and the council to do it successfully here too."
Hampshire Constabulary Portsmouth-based Inspector Claire Taylor said:
"Overall crime in Portsmouth is down by 10 per cent so far this year (2013) compared to the same period between April and November last year (2012), that’s 1,252 fewer victims of crime. (Source: latest provisional year-to-date Hampshire Constabulary crime stats).
"We are naturally pleased with the drop in crime across the city, and will continue to find ways to keep this on a downward trend.
"Drunk and disorderly remains a commonly reported type of anti-social behaviour in Portsmouth. Therefore, we’re taking further action to protect people from the harm caused by alcohol.
"Frequent street drinkers put their own health at risk and can spoil the quality of life in the city for residents and visitors.
"Our purpose is to persuade more off-licensees to stop selling certain types of super-strength alcohol at low prices.
"I'd like to thank all those who have shown their support for the campaign so far. You are helping to make our city an even safer place.
"This initiative has the twin goals of reducing alcohol-related crime while helping to change behaviour in the long-run so fewer people need hospital treatment for reckless levels of drinking."
Dr Andrew Mortimore, Interim Director of Public Health, says:
"It is estimated that alcohol misuse costs the NHS, criminal justice service and employers £74 million annually in Portsmouth. A significant part of this can be attributed to the availability of "super-strength" alcohol. Also, Portsmouth's hospital admissions due to alcohol are above the average for the UK.
"These super strength drinks can be extremely harmful to people's health so we're making a positive step for the community by minimising the accessibility of them."
Alan Knobel, alcohol strategy co-ordinator at Portsmouth City Council, says:
"This campaign is aiming to help make Portsmouth a safer and healthier place to live and work. We are always working hard to reduce alcohol related harm in the city and this initiative is a leap in the right direction."
Greg, a resident in Portsmouth, also backs this campaign:
"I was drinking on average two to three litres of cheap cider a day and didn't think anything was wrong with that. I had just always assumed that nothing would ever happen to me so I just carried on drinking. Then I woke up one morning and started severely vomiting black liquid, it was really scary.
"I took myself up to A&E and was admitted to QA Hospital immediately, who told me that because of my excessive alcohol intake I had developed pancreatitis.
"Since being admitted to hospital, I have been sober for a year and I regularly attend weight management sessions with the Portsmouth Health Trainer service.
"I fully support this campaign to keep super-strength alcohol off the shelves. Unfortunately I learnt the hard way, but hopefully this campaign will prevent lots of people going through what I went through."
This campaign is supported by Portsmouth City Council, Hampshire Constabulary and Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust.
These are the stores taking part so far:
• Copnor Mini Market - Copnor Road
• Spar Eastney Convienience Store - Fort Cumberland Road
• Handy Stores - Newcome Road
• Fajny Sklep - Kingston Road
• Fajny Sklep - Elm Grove
• Spar - St Marys Road
• Widley Express - Cosham High Street
• Cosham Express - Cosham High Street
• Jet Garage - Green Road
• Victory Trophies - Kingston Road
• Kwiki Mart Food and Tipple - Fawcett Road
• Liqour Land - London Road
• Rainbow Store - Albert Road
• Kwiki Mart - Halstead Road
• Kwiki Mart - Mablethorpe Road
• Ajs Pantry - Allaway Avenue
• New Kwiki Mart - Hillsley Road
• New Kwiki Mart - 25 Albert Road
• New Kwiki Mart - 111-113 Albert Road
• New Kwiki Mart - London Road
• New Kwiki Mart - Kingston Road
• New Kwiki Mart - Clarendon Road
• New Kwiki Mart - Spur Road
• New Kwiki Mart - Goldsmith Avenue
• NISA - Portsmouth Road
A similar scheme was introduced in Weymouth in October 2013.