United Kingdom: Drunk offenders to attend lessons on the effects of alcohol to avoid criminal charges

Mark Willingham Uncategorized

United Kingdom:  Drunk offenders to attend lessons on the effects of alcohol to avoid criminal charges

International Business Times

By Joe Gamp

April 17, 2016

A new scheme is being trialled to help tackle anti-social behaviour and binge drinking, which would see offenders attend a two-day course to learn about alcohol and how better to handle its effects. The Alcohol Diversion Scheme – similar to speed awareness courses that reckless drivers face – will see those convicted with drunk and disorderly-related offences pay for a two-hour course, for a fee of £54, instead of receiving the standard £90 fine and a criminal record, which is the standard punishment under current legislation.

The sobering facts

According to a report by The Sunday Mirror, the course will look, in depth, at the health effects and problems cause by excessive drinking, whilst also being taught about how to avoid landing in further trouble caused by over consumption of alcohol.

However, the scheme is a one strike measure, with re-offenders facing more serious punishments if charged for a second time for alcohol-related offences.

The initiative is being launched and trialled in West Mercia, Midlands, UK, in May 2016, where police believe the new measures will cut re-offending. Charity Alcohol Concern estimates that drink related crime costs the taxpayer between £8bn-£13bn ($11.36bn-$18.46bn) a year, through their annual research findings.

A hands-on approach to tackling anti-social behaviour

Chief Super Intendant Lee Davenport, of West Mercia police, said: “We are keen to embrace this scheme. It adds to the great work going on with our local policing teams, colleagues within the Community Safety Partnerships and with the pubs and clubs themselves”, in an interview with The Mirror.

“It means we continue to make out cities, towns and villages safe, vibrant places in which to enjoy a safe night out,” he continued.

The Alcohol Diversion Scheme has already been trialled by Cumbria Police in April 2015, with regional Police Inspector, Mo Kelly, saying of the scheme in an official statement: “The aim is to educate people who have been involved in an alcohol-related incident, so that they don’t commit the same mistake again. We hope that this will then reduce the harm caused by alcohol in our communities.”

The classes are run by TTC group, who also runs speed awareness courses for those convicted of dangerous driving and other ‘reform’ courses. Alan Prosser believes that the rise in drunken incidents had been boosted by more people ‘pre-drinking’ at home before heading out on the town.

“Our drinking culture has changed”, he said. “It’s not unusual for someone to have 100 units of alcohol over a weekend.”