30 January 2017
Home Office support to help tackle alcohol-related crime in Wrexham
New measures will help tackle alcohol-related crime and disorder in Wrexham, as the area is chosen as one of more than 30 across the UK as part of a Home Office Scheme.
Wrexham will become a Local Alcohol Action Area (LAAA) – areas which will receive Home Office support and expertise to tackle the impact of irresponsible drinking – especially with relation to alcohol-related crime, disorder and its effect on health.
Along with Swansea, Wrexham will be one of just two areas in Wales chosen to take part in the work to solve the ill-effects of irresponsible drinking will be taken in partnership with Wrexham’s night-time economy.
County areas selected as LAAAs do not receive funding, but are allocated support from central government and access to advice, expertise and insight from a set of mentors.
Local areas who have been granted LAAA status will be required to tackle one or more of a set of a core set of challenges, focusing on preventing crime and disorder in the night time economy.
Challenges to be considered will include improving the sharing of data between A&E departments, local authorities and police; how councils, police and businesses can ensure the safe movement of people during nights out; preventing the sale of alcohol to persistent offenders and considering the re-design of public spaces to make crime more difficult.
Wrexham already benefits from a number of strong partnerships between Wrexham Council, licensees, door security firms, North Wales Police, Public Health Wales, the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board and the Fire and Ambulance Services.
Initiatives currently in place include:
- Best Bar None - a national award scheme to raise safety standards in bars and restaurants and Wrexham’s Best Bar None has seen the town’s restaurants and bars being awarded for their contributions to ensuring that Wrexham provides a safe night out.
- The Alcohol Treatment Centre on St Giles Way, treating vulnerable individuals to ensure they can get home safely.
- Nightsafe – monthly meetings between agencies, door security firms and owners of licensed premises meeting to tackle arising issues.
- Street Pastors – volunteers from local churches working on Friday and Saturday nights to care for, listen to and help people who are out on the streets.
- Think Safe, Drink Safe – an interagency campaign which aims to prevent and reduce alcohol fuelled violent crime and anti- social behaviour. This project has been identified as a model of good practice and has been delivered regionally.
Councillor Hugh Jones, Lead Member for People, Communities and Partnerships at Wrexham Council, said: “We are pleased to receive this excellent news. Wrexham has the largest night-time economy in North Wales and we are extremely proud of the excellent partnership work and initiatives which has enabled us to reduce alcohol related harm in the town.
“We now have an opportunity to further progress this good work which will ensure that visitors to the Wrexham town centre can enjoy a safe night out.”
Lee Robinson, Executive Director at Wrexham Council, said: “Irresponsible drinking and the resultant crime, anti-social behaviour and ill health poses an incredible cost to society, and we as an authority can take a strong role in solving it.
“Officers from Wrexham Council have played a key role a number of partnership-based approaches to tackle the ill-effects of alcohol-related crime, but the expertise provided by our being an LAAA will be indispensable in our continued efforts to encourage good behaviour and to foster a night-time culture where members of the public can enjoy themselves, free from the problems caused by badly-behaved revellers who fail to drink responsibly.”
Chief Inspector Dave Jolly, Chief Inspector with North Wales Police, said: “We at North Wales Police have worked with partners at Wrexham Council and other agencies for a number of years in continuing to tackle the disorder and crime caused by irresponsible drinkers.
“Through our partnership approach, we have been able to work with licensees and numerous organisations to help improve the visitor experience for all those taking part in the night-time economy in Wrexham, and look forward to continuing this improvement with the support of the LAAA.”
Sarah Newton, Minister for Vulnerability, Safeguarding and Countering Extremism, said: "Local Alcohol Action Areas demonstrate the Government’s commitment to work with industry, police, local authorities and other partners to make our streets safer.
“Violent crimes involving alcohol have fallen over the last decade - but it is clear that alcohol misuse has a significant impact on communities across the country.
"Our pubs, bars and restaurants make a valuable contribution to our economy and our society and it is important that people are able to enjoy them without the fear of becoming a victim of crime.”