Police chief calls for street 'drunk tanks' for problem boozers
A senior police officer has suggested putting paralytic boozers into privately-run 'drunk tanks' - and charging them for the privilege.
Northamptonshire Chief Constable Adrian Lee says police and the NHS should not be left to pick up the cost of looking after people who drink so much they are incapable of functioning on a night out.
He said: "Why don’t we take them to a cell owned by a commercial company and get the company to look after them until they are sober?
"When that is over we will issue them with a fixed penalty, and the company will be able to charge them for their care, which would be at quite significant cost – and that might be a significant deterrent.’
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He added: “Police are all too often having to care for people who have clearly failed to take care of themselves. These people need to grow up and take responsibility. Drinking so much that you can’t think clearly makes you vulnerable and more likely to become a victim of crime, be injured or be involved in violence.
“We’re not here to clean you up and drop you home or mediate drunken arguments. We’d prefer our officers to be in their communities fighting crime rather than being pulled off their beats into town centres every weekend.”
“The harm that alcohol can do in our communities and the impact it has on policing is sometimes unrecognised or ignored. It shouldn’t be.
“Alcohol harm is a social issue that we all have a stake in solving. There is more to do working with government and the alcohol industry but above all, personal responsibility is key.
“Don’t be a drain on police time because you’ve had too much to drink. Take responsibility for yourself.
“The police service is realistic that it has to make budget reductions but the impact of excessive drinking is an example of the real operational challenges we face.
“We need to put officers on the streets to keep people safe and prevent crimes from occurring as well as responding when they do. But the result of that decision is that these are police officers who are not doing all the other things that the government and public want them to prioritise.”
Crime Prevention Minister Jeremy Browne said: “Frontline police officers are all too aware of the drunken behaviour and alcohol-fuelled disorder that can effectively turn towns and cities into no-go areas for law-abiding people, particularly on Friday and Saturday nights.
“The government is taking a wide range of action to tackle alcohol-related crime and disorder. This includes introducing a ban on alcohol sales below the level of duty plus VAT to tackle the worst cases of very cheap and harmful drink.”
This week sees thousands of students in Gloucestershire enjoying the start of Freshers' Fortnight - traditionally a time for over indulgence.
Colum McGuire, National Union of Students Vice President Welfare said: “The first few weeks of higher education should be fun and exciting, but it’s really important too that students consume alcohol responsibly during this period and beyond. Drinking to excess can affect your health and your studies so students should take care of themselves and their friends.”
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