Reducing The Strength in Lowestoft
2 March 2014, 06:15
A campaign encouraging shops to stop selling super strength alcohol starts in Lowestoft this week.
The 'Reducing the Strength' campaign has already proved successful in Ipswich and was recently launched in Bury St Edmunds and Haverhill.
Now the scheme is being introduced in Lowestoft, with lots of shops signing up.
The campaign is a partnership initiative between Waveney District Council and Suffolk Police and aims to tackle problems around street drinking including health issues and alcohol-related anti-social behaviour.
Work began late last year to visit off-licences in the town to make shop owners and managers aware of the campaign that targets super strength beer, lager and cider of 6.5% alcohol and above.
Sgt Steve Wright, of the Lowestoft North Safer Neighbourhood Team, said; "Crime and anti-social behaviour in Lowestoft has shown a downward trend over the past few years but statistics don't always tell the whole story.
"Over the last 12 months problems with street drinking have become more visible in the town centre and we, along with Waveney District Council, are trying to deal with this to improve the quality of life for everyone.
"We need to work together to address the issue and we are trying to intervene with individuals to get them out of the cycle. One of the key parts of this is removing the source of the problems but we are also giving consideration to health and mental health issues, benefits and welfare, housing, drugs and alcohol, crime and anti-social behaviour and the social impact.
"Evidence shows that street drinkers gravitate to areas where they have a source of cheap super strength alcohol and the Reducing the Strength campaign sees us asking retailers to play their part by removing this type of alcohol from their shelves."
Super strength alcohol includes lager, beer and cider with an alcohol volume of 6.5% or over that is sold very cheaply. It is often bought by young people or those with alcohol-dependency problems and excessive consumption of these drinks can lead to health problems for the individual, can make them vulnerable to various types of crime and can lead to anti-social behaviour and community issues.
Businesses are being encouraged to attend the launch of the scheme at Stella Maris Hall in Gordon Road, Lowestoft on Monday 3 March.