Joining forces in the battle against drink

Barry Coppinger, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland.

Barry Coppinger, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland.

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Police chiefs have backed a major campaign to clamp down on the region’s booze problems.

North East leaders - including those in the Tees Valley - have pledged their support to the new Local Government Declaration on Alcohol.

Tackling alcohol harm is a key priority for all 12 North East councils. We welcome and support the Alcohol Declaration, which brings together local authorities with a range of other frontline services and organisations to create a powerful, unitary voice to implement change

Coun Paul Watson, chair of the Association of North East Councils

The campaign comes at a time when alcohol misuse costs the NHS £242m in the region, and alcohol-related crime and licensing costs £259m.

Supporters of the scheme include the region’s three Police and Crime Commissioners, the Northern England NHS Strategic Clinical Networks, the Association of North East Councils (ANEC) and the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS).

The North East Alcohol Office Balance is also supporting the campaign and wants measures to regulate the price, promotion and availability of alcohol.

Barry Coppinger, Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Cleveland, said: “I’m delighted to support the Local Government Declaration on Alcohol. There is already a huge amount of collaborative work going on to highlight the importance of reducing the harm alcohol does in our communities and the declaration builds on this.”

Durham PCC, Ron Hogg, said: “Misuse of alcohol places a burden on all our public services. It is one of the biggest problems facing people in the North East, and we need major change. Together, we will build better solutions and speak with a louder voice, and I am proud to support this declaration.”

ANEC chairman Coun Paul Watson said: “Tackling alcohol harm is a key priority for all 12 North East councils. We welcome and support the Alcohol Declaration, which brings together local authorities with a range of other frontline services and organisations to create a powerful, unitary voice to implement change.”

Colin Shevills, director of Balance, called for action including “raising the price of the cheapest, strongest products; mandatory health labelling; and advertising restrictions - policies which are largely supported by North Easterners”.

The North East councils signed up to the Declaration include South Tyneside, Sunderland, County Durham and Darlington.