Alcohol-fuelled crime and violence to be targeted in borough’s town centres

Police on the streets of Romford town centre.

Police on the streets of Romford town centre. - Credit: Archant

Booze-free bars for teenagers could form part of a crackdown aimed at curbing alcohol-fuelled crime and street drinking.

Officers line South Street as they prepare for revellers to leave Fiction nightclub

Officers line South Street as they prepare for revellers to leave Fiction nightclub - Credit: Archant

Havering is one of the latest areas in the country chosen to be involved in the government’s Local Alcohol Action Areas (LAAA) programme.

The programme was initially launched in February 2014, covering 20 areas, with Havering set to enter the second phase.

The first phase of LAAA saw a variety of interventions introduced to reduce street drinking, vulnerability and violence.

These ranged from club hosts patrolling bars to offer help to those who are vulnerable, a triage service for street drinkers, and even a non-alcoholic bar for teenagers.

Any future action in the borough would focus on street drinking and issues arising from the large number of off-licences.

Cllr Wendy Brice- Thompson, cabinet member for adult social services and health, said: “We welcome this scheme. We have a busy night-time economy and very much hope this programme will help us to keep alcohol-related crime and disorder levels low and continue to build upon our relationships with pubs and bars in Havering to develop a holistic approach to promote healthy attitudes towards alcohol.”

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Havering will be supported in developing and implementing their plans by specialist support managers.

It will receive expertise in crime prevention, licensing and public health from the Home Office, Public Health England and Nightworks, a company that specialises in diversifying the night-time economy.

Sarah Newton, minister for Vulnerability, Safeguarding and Countering Extremism, said: “Local Alcohol Action Areas demonstrate the Government’s commitment to work with industry, police, local authorities and other partners to make our streets safer.

“Violent crimes involving alcohol have fallen over the last decade - but it is clear that alcohol misuse has a significant impact on communities across the country.

“Our pubs, bars and restaurants make a valuable contribution to our economy and our society and it is important that people are able to enjoy them without the fear of becoming a victim of crime.”

Alcohol-related crime and disorder costs an estimated £11 billion per year in England and Wales, and the Government wants to support local communities in reducing scenes of drunkenness and violence.

Involvement in the LAAA scheme will also involve action to raise public awareness both of the health problems linked to excessive drinking and of the support services that are available.