Scheme relaunched to tackle alcohol-related offences

The scheme has been relaunched in West Sussex. Picture: Sussex Police
The scheme has been relaunched in West Sussex. Picture: Sussex Police

A scheme to tackle alcohol-related offending has been relaunched in West Sussex, police have revealed.

Sussex Police are working with Druglink and being supported by West Sussex County Council (WSCC) to deliver a police referred Alcohol Diversion Scheme (ADS) to help reduce the level of alcohol fuelled crime.

The scheme is targeted at people in West Sussex over the age of 18 and focuses on the health and education of those in the community who are drinking above the recommended lower risk levels.

A police spokesman said the scheme was a ‘simple way of dealing with an offender who has committed a low-level alcohol related crime’ and aims to effectively engage with individuals and their drinking habits and to look differently at how to deal with alcohol-related offending.

Chief Inspector Justin Burtenshaw said: “We have an opportunity to make a real difference here, and tackle what is a growing problem in society.

“We are also looking to extend this scheme in the future to include drug use, underage drinkers, for use around targeted operations for anti-social behaviour and longer term to incorporate highlighting awareness of the link between gambling and crime.

“By focussing on addressing lower level criminal activity with the use of problem solving and preventive educational measures, the wider impact is that there is potentially a reduction in more serious crime. What is key, is that we look at the cause, as opposed to the symptoms.”

Run by Druglink, the three hour course addresses the link between alcohol and violence and reinforces the significant physical and psychological harms associated with binge drinking, police said.

It also explores alcohol content and units providing insight into the strength of certain drinks and explaining behaviour in relation to those drinks.

The police spokesman added that the scheme has had considerable success in other parts of the country where it has been able to help steer individuals away from trouble at an early stage and significantly reduced the likelihood of re-offending.

Christine Field, WSCC’s cabinet member for Community Wellbeing, said: “The importance of early support and guidance cannot be underestimated which is why I am very pleased to see this being relaunched.

“This will enable someone to get help before alcohol use becomes a bigger problem such as alcohol dependence or placing themselves in a situation where they may be vulnerable to crime.

“The relaunched scheme will also work alongside the existing Drug and Alcohol Wellbeing Network which provides support to all West Sussex residents affected by drugs and/or alcohol.”

More information can be found at West Sussex Connect to Support.

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