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Alcohol Awareness Week

As we come to the end of this year’s Alcohol Awareness Week, which has centred on alcohol and relationships, I wanted my blog to concentrate a little on how alcohol misuse can negatively affect a variety of relationships; at home, at work, socially and publicly and how it can often lead to an increase in criminal and anti-social behaviour (ASB).

As a Police and Crime Commissioner, I look to encourage people to drink responsibility and not let alcohol wreck important relationships. Alcohol is often a key factor in cases of domestic abuse and child neglect. Excessive drinking can rip families apart; but conversely a stable home life can play a key role in helping an offender turn their life around.

Understanding the impacts of alcohol fuelled behaviour in our communities and increasing our collaborative working with key partners, to promote awareness of the issue and help achieve a behavioural change, will ultimately help cut crime and anti-social behaviour in Dorset.

People with a problem drinking habit are more likely to commit a crime when they have been drinking, which in turn, creates increased demand on police resources. Dorset Police received over 8,000 crime reports linked to alcohol between October 2020 and September 2021. Over a third of these reports were for alcohol-related violence against individuals and there were nearly 1,700 reported incidents of ASB fuelled by alcohol.

As the Police and Crime Commissioner and the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) co-joint lead for alcohol and substance misuse, I want to elaborate on the positive work that is happening across the country through the work of PCC’s in commissioning schemes and projects to deal with the crime-related outcomes of alcohol and substance misuse.

My office, funds vital projects, such as Drug Link’s Diversion Scheme which aims to increase people’s understanding of low-level offending related to substance misuse. This scheme brings into sharp focus the realities of misuse and addiction to those taking part, highlighting the potential risks of alcohol or drug-fuelled situations and the consequences that substance misuse can have, which can sadly be devastating in some cases, especially when addiction starts to take hold.

My office also funds both Dorset and BCP Councils’ public health bodies to provide a free tailor-made course to those who are going through the community resolution or conditional caution process, where alcohol has been a defining feature of their actions. The course targets making a behavioural change in order to reduce re-offending and gives those taking part, access to the support they need by signposting them to a range of other services and organisations.

My work will continue beyond Alcohol Awareness Week. I will continue to work with our partners on ensuring those with alcohol misuse issues have the chance to take part in schemes and projects to address their problem drinking and consequently, hopefully save their most precious family, work and social relationships, which will in turn have a positive effect on diminishing the levels of alcohol fuelled crime and ASB in our communities.

David Sidwick

Police and Crime Commissioner 

If you are worried about your alcohol use or if you are concerned about a friend or family member, Get help now | Alcohol Change UK

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