'Alcohol costs the NHS £3.5 billion every year': Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner's call over drink abuse

The Government is being urged to look into the wider affect of drinking as North East police commissioners join forces to call for action.

By Peter Tennick
Friday, 17 May, 2019, 13:10
Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland, Barry Coppinger

The region's three Police and Crime Commissioners are calling on Government to focus on the wider implications of alcohol use, in the Prevention green paper when it is published later this year.

The green paper will propose a number of actions to help people from falling into ill-health as a consequence of drinking, obesity, social isolation or other dangers to their health.

Durhams Police, Crime and Victims Commissioner Ron Hogg

The North East’s three Police and Crime Commissioners, Dame Vera Baird, Barry Coppinger and Ron Hogg have written to Health Secretary Matt Hancock MP to make the case that the impact of alcohol on society extends beyond the harm it causes to individuals, to increased levels of crime, sub-optimum economic performance, and costs to the public purse.

Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland, Barry Coppinger, said: “Alcohol costs the NHS £3.5 billion every year, but what is less well-recognised are the wider costs to society.

"Public Health England have estimated these costs to be up to £52billion a year, money which could be so much better spent on delivering vital public services including policing.

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"That’s why I’m supportive of a public health approach to tackling violence, including alcohol abuse and the wider problems associated with alcohol harm.

"By working with other agencies we have more chance of limiting the harm caused by addictive substances.”

Durham’s Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner Ron Hogg said: "More than one in four adults in the North East are drinking at levels which put them at risk of illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, early onset dementia and cancer, and people in routine occupations are at greater risk than those in managerial positions.

"That means that the North East is particularly at risk, impacting on all emergency services."

Northumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Dame Vera Baird, said: "40% of crime is linked to alcohol.

"There is a real responsibility on Government to take measures to reduce alcohol consumption because doing so will make a real difference to the level of crime in our society, and to the well-being of everyone."