Police have launched a new scheme to tackle the harm caused by alcohol misuse in Cumbria with the help of the TTC Group.
Drunk offenders involved in public disorder on the streets of Cumbria who receive a fixed penalty from Cumbria Constabulary will now be able to attend the Alcohol Diversion Scheme, a two hour classroom course, run by the leading UK alcohol education organisation.
Instead of paying a £90 Fixed Penalty Notice, the offender will have the opportunity to attend the course costing £45 with no further action taken on the Fixed Penalty Notice.
Police in Cumbria issue about 50 Fixed Penalty Notices a month for such offences. A large rural county, Cumbria is in the “top ten” counties for alcohol misuse in the UK.
They called in the TTC Group, a pioneer of alcohol and drug education, who already run courses on speed awareness, What’s Driving Us and Driver Alertness for Cumbria Police and similar educational courses for 14 other police forces.
Retired police chief inspector Ian BInt, with 30 years experience as a police officer, is leading the team from the TTC Group responsible for delivering the new course, the sixth of its kind to be introduced by UK police in their bid to tackle alcohol fuelled misbehaviour on the streets of Britain. “
This course has been tailor made for the particular problem in Cumbria and gives people the chance to confront and change their behaviour,” said Ian, the north of England co-ordinator for the TTC Group, an award winning organisation which pioneered drink drive rehabilitation courses in the early 1990s.
“Our drinking culture has changed. Most people drink at home and they don’t realise how much they are having in a home made drink.
“It is not unusual for someone to have 100 units of alcohol over a weekend. That is equivalent to two and a half bottles of Vodka.”
A decline in the number of people popping down to the pub and the popularity of people pre-drinking “shots” of alcohol before going out on the town has led to an increase in drunken behaviour, he said.
A dangerous cocktail of alcohol, a depressant, and caffeine drinks to stay awake, leads to problems, claimed Mr Bint, a former chairman of a multi agency substance misuse group.
The course involves educating offenders about the varying strengths of alcohol, long term effects of drinking, potential risks in alcohol fuelled situations and how to avoid such behaviour. Inspector Mo Kelly said:
“We hope this scheme will become a fundamental tool in helping to tackle alcohol harm within our communities.
“The principle is very similar to speed awareness courses but those who are able to attend will have been involved in an alcohol related incident.
“The aim is to educate people so they don’t commit the same mistake again. We hope that this will then reduce the harm caused by alcohol in our communities.”
Chief Superintendent Mark Pannone said that the project was a part of the Alcohol Harm Strategy launched by the Police and Crime Commissioner in 2013 to reduce the harm, violence, and anti-social behaviour associated with alcohol misuse.
“The Alcohol Diversion Project is a key aspect of the wider strategy which will help us tackle alcohol problems within Cumbria.”
Police and Crime Commissioner for Cumbria, Richard Rhodes said: “Tackling alcohol related crime and antisocial behaviour is a priority within my Police and Crime Plan. I welcome this initiative and firmly believe that education has a key part to play in addressing alcohol issues.”
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