28/06/2004

New scheme to break link between booze and crime

A scheme that has helped to break the link between drug use and crime by testing people when they are arrested and getting them into treatment will expand to target offenders who also misuse alcohol.

The government's Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategy aims to address the social and economic problems caused by alcohol misuse and includes measures to: tackle alcohol-related disorder in town and city centres; improve treatment and support for people with alcohol problems; clamp down on irresponsible promotions by the industry; and provide better information to consumers about the dangers of alcohol misuse.

Home Secretary David Blunkett said the expansion of the scheme will be trialled in two areas and offenders will get specialist help.

"We need to focus our efforts more effectively on key individuals committing the most offences, given the changing pattern of crime in our society," he said.

"The key to reducing crime still further is to focus more intensively on the individuals whose addiction to drugs and drink leads them to commit offences."

The extension of the Criminal Justice Interventions Programme is part of the government's strategy to reduce harm caused by alcohol. The strategy also includes a six-week police blitz on underage drinking and alcohol-related disorder starting on 8 July.

"We are no longer prepared to tolerate our public spaces becoming no-go areas for law-abiding citizens," said Mr Blunkett.

(gmcg)

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