Norwich has today (Friday 27 January 2017) been confirmed as one of the areas to be given the opportunity to be a Local Alcohol Action Area by the Home Office.
The initiative, first launched in 2014, was set up to support local areas in implementing their own plans to reduce alcohol-related crime and health harms, and to diversify the night time economy.
Norwich has been allocated a Home Office support manager and will be given access to expert advice from elsewhere in government, plus mentors who are able to assist with insight and expertise.
Inspector Ed Brown, of Community Operations, said: “Strong, sustained and effective partnership working is at the heart of successful approaches to reducing alcohol-related harm.
“Being selected by the Home Office will allow us to continue to develop local solutions and strategies to tackle alcohol related crime and disorder with partners in the NHS which we can then share as best practice more widely. It will also help in offering reassurance to members of the public who are part of the night time economy.
“A key aspect to improving our response is to enhance how we record incidents as data so it helps us understand where we should be targeting appropriate interventions.”
Superintendent for Norwich, Lynne Cross, said: “It is estimated that 21% of violent crimes in Norfolk are alcohol related. However, the impact is felt wider than within the police service. The annual cost of alcohol-related violence to all public services in Norfolk is estimated to be £27.4m.
“While this project focusses on alcohol, it will also offer us an opportunity to improve the information we receive around drug and crime related admissions. The support shown by the Home Office will hopefully go a long way in reducing these figures and I am confident we are on the right track to make a positive change to alcohol-related crime and disorder.”
Police and Crime Commissioner, Lorne Green, said: “I very much welcome this Home Office initiative. Few of us have not been affected directly or indirectly by the ravages of alcohol misuse or addiction.
While no part or age group of society is immune, this weekend I will be focussing on the excessive use of alcohol by some young people.
That is why I will be on Prince of Wales Road in Norwich Friday night to understand better the drivers that lead to personal and social harm and public disorder from inappropriate drinking. I also am meeting with representatives from the night time economy next week to explore how we can partner more closely to encourage appropriate behaviours.”
Louise Smith, Director of Public Health, said: “I am really pleased and proud to support and sponsor this initiative. It will give everyone involved a strong foundation of working together to tackle shared themes.”
Councillor Paul Kendrick, Norwich City Council’s cabinet member for neighbourhoods and community safety, said: “This is a welcome initiative which complements the work around the night-time economy and the 12-point plan agreed by the city council’s cabinet. By partners in the city working together, it will help identify issues around vulnerability and may lead to more informed decisions taken by partners and the council, including those which fall under its responsibility for licensing.”
Norwich Eye Opinion: ‘Norwich is a lively city with vibrant nightlife which is concentrated in the city centre and at weekends. City Council planning policies have allowed the closure, dereliction and redevelopment for housing of many Norwich community pubs, driving ever more demand into the big commercial operators in the city centre. Local pubs are a resource that once lost is hard to replace and they need enhanced protection from development pressure, particularly speculative housing development. It is not clear yet how this new initiative will work in Norwich but it must include support for community pubs and their tenants. Some years ago there was much discussion of the concept of a ’24-hour city’ where businesses are encouraged to offer services at non-standard times to even out the stress on infrastructure and other resources including policing, It is time to re-start this discussion with the community’.