According to Government statistics, the vast majority of adults in the UK drink within recommended guidelines. Binge-drinking among young adults is at an all-time-low, and fewer and fewer children are drinking alcohol. Overall, the national picture is encouraging.
However, the minority who are misusing alcohol are doing so to increasingly harmful levels. There are a number of local areas across the UK that buck the otherwise positive national trends, and to improve the national picture even further local problems require local solutions.
The drinks industry is committed to tackling the health and social harms associated with alcohol-misuse in those local areas where it is most needed. There are a number of industry-funded schemes available to local authorities that target alcohol misuse and promote safer, better managed night-time economies through close partnership working with councils, police, healthcare providers, licensing authorities and the third sector.
For more detailed information on these business-led local partnership schemes, please see Local Alcohol Partnerships.
Pubwatch is a scheme set up and run by licensees to reduce crime and disorder in pubs and clubs. Supported by the police, it is a national initiative that has been proven to reduce violence and other criminal acts such as drug dealing and vandalism.
The scheme works by creating links between licensees, allowing information – such as the identity of troublemakers – to be passed quickly between each other and police. It also provides a forum where licensees can share problems and solutions.
Nationally, police statistics show a significant decrease in violent offenders in those pubs where the scheme operates.
Best Bar None
Best Bar None is a national award scheme supported by the Home Office and aimed at promoting the responsible management and operation of alcohol-licensed premises. It was piloted in Manchester in 2003 and found to improve standards in the night-time economy, with premises competing to participate. It has since been adopted by 100 towns and cities across the UK and is now being taken up internationally.
The aim of BBN is to reduce alcohol-related crime and disorder in a town centre by building a positive relationship between the licensed trade, police and local authorities.
It reduces the harmful effects of drinking as well as improves the knowledge and skills of enforcement and regulation agencies, licensees and bar staff to help them responsibly manage licensed premises.
Responsible operators are recognised through awards and able to share good practice with others. This scheme can also highlight how operating more responsibly can improve the profitability of an individual business and the attractiveness of a local area’s night-time economy.
Community Alcohol Partnership
Launched in 2007, Community Alcohol Partnerships were originally developed by the Retail of Alcohol Standards Group in an effort to tackle underage drinking and is now a standalone Community Interest Company, funded with contributions from some of the UK’s largest drinks producers as well as large and small retailers.
Community Alcohol Partnerships aim to deliver a co-ordinated, localised response within local communities to the problems of underage drinking and associated anti-social behaviour through co-operation between alcohol retailers/licensees and local stakeholders. Each CAP is tailored to suit local needs and, depending on the nature and extent of the problem, different methods of best practice will be adopted.
The CAP model includes a focus on education, enforcement, public perception, communication and diversionary activity. Evaluations have consistently shown improvements including:
- 45% decrease in anti-social behaviour (St Neots, 2007)
- 30% decrease in anti-social behaviour (Dearne and Penistone, South Yorkshire 2011)
- 50% decrease in youth nuisance; youth diversionary referrals decreased from 114 to 40 (Derry, 2011)
- 50% decrease in youth alcohol-related accidents requiring the attention of the London Ambulance Service (Islington 2012)
Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) are aimed at improving the local commercial environment. By working in partnership with other local businesses, the alcohol industry can help to improve the overall attractiveness of the areas in which BIDs operate.
Depending on the goals of each local project, these partnerships coud lead to a reduction in problems such as under-age sales and alcohol-related public disorder, and ensure that local communities have the powers they need to tackle alcohol-related crime and anti-social behaviour, whilst promoting local business.
Purple Flag aims to raise the standard and broaden the appeal of centres between 5pm and 6am. The scheme is operated by the Association of Town and City Management working alongside the Purple Flag Advisory Committee – a partnership of key stakeholder groups, including central and local government, police, business and consumers.
Areas that reach or surpass Purple Flag standards can fly the flag. Benefits include:
- Increased visitors
- Increased expenditure
- Lower crime and anti-social behaviour
- A more successful mixed-use economy
- A raised profile and an improved public image