Headlines: October 19th, 2007

Local authorities, police,fire services and health boards across Wales are being asked for their views on plans for an improved approach to tackling drink-related crime. The Assembly government has begun a consultation process on a draft framework aimed at helping Community Safety Partnerships take a more co-ordinated approach to disorder and anti-social behaviour.

It follows recognition that in the past twenty years there has been a big growth in the evening and night time economy, particularly the numbers of pubs, clubs and bars open in towns and cities across the country. At the same time figures in the latest British Crime Survey show that in almost half of violent incidents in England and Wales victims believed the offenders were under the influence of alcohol.

Welsh Social Justice Minister Brian Gibbons said after the consultation, which closes on January 10th, the framework will be taken forward as part of the new substance misuse strategy. The strategy will cover all substances that are misused but alcohol will be a priority.

He said, “It is important that we work together to develop effective ways of tackling the increasing problem of alcohol related crime and disorder in Wales” He said he wanted interested parties such as the police, local authorities, Local Health Boards, fire service, business representatives and town centre managers to make their views known on the framework, which has been drawn up with the Home Office Crime Team, South Wales Police and the Welsh Local Government Association.

“For example, do they think that the draft framework takes into account all the factors that are relevant in managing the evening economy and is there any other guidance and good practice that should be included,” Mr. Gibbons added. He is also keen to learn more about what measures work in tackling alcohol related crime and disorder and to that end he will be inviting Community Safety Partnerships to submit proposals for pilot projects.