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Police commissioner's alcohol warning for Cumbria

Alcohol sellers in Carlisle are gearing up to supply drinkers who are expected to pour into the city from north of the border once a law on minimum alcohol pricing comes into force in Scotland.

Richard Rhodes photo
Richard Rhodes

The likely impact of the law has been spelled out by Cumbria’s newly elected crime commissioner Richard Rhodes during his first meeting with the panel who will scrutinise his work.

The issue has prompted some to compare the city to Calais - famous for its cross-Channel booze cruises.

Mr Rhodes said: “I am told there are already some sharp business interests in Carlisle gearing themselves up for plenty of trade, with white Transit vans coming down the M6 and across the border.

“So there’s potentially a local issue which we will need to deal with.”

The comment came as Mr Rhodes outlined some of the priorities which he aims to pursue during his four-year tenure in the post.

At the heart of his strategy for dealing with crime, said Mr Rhodes, would be prevention and tackling the issues – like alcohol – which fuel crime.

Recognising the clear link between alcohol and offending, and the need to target drink-fuelled anti-social behaviour, he said he was currently working with Cumbria Constabulary on developing a “sensible” alcohol strategy.

He said: “There has been an alcohol strategy throughout the county but it has tended to lapse and it is not really in operation now.

“I’ve had discussions with the assistant chief constable about formulating a proper alcohol strategy, and discussions with Professor John Ashton, [Cumbria’s Director of Public Health] because you can’t separate the criminal aspect from health.”

One of his first priorities, said Mr Rhodes, would be to set up an Office of Victim support by March 31.

The Commissioner spoke of the need for a “proactive” approach to helping victims and he outlined several of his long-term priorities which include:

  • A greater use of “restorative” justice,” with offenders made to confront the consequences of their crime;
  • Tackling rural crime, possibly with the introduction of “parish” special constables;
  • Concentrating on crime and disorder “hotspots;”
  • Establishing an Office of Public Engagement, so people’s experience of crime and policing are known;
  • Targeting antisocial behaviour and youth offending, and re-offending by those released from custody.
  • Working with agencies helping victims, including victims of domestic abuse.

The second part of the meeting confirmed the Commissioner’s proposal that the police precept – that part of Council Tax bills which pays for police services – should increase next year by 1.95 per cent, which would cost residents in a Band D property an extra £3.87 a year.

The Commissioner’s precept proposal must now be ratified by the panel.

Have your say

cant understand what good this guy will do,the man for that kind of work should have been a working police emplyee,someone who knows the laws and the inside workings of the police.this guys going to be all talk and no-action man at the cost of every council tax payer.

Posted by robert 3 on 5 January 2013 at 20:03

Ironic is'nt it, all those having thier say on here about this issue did not bother to use a vote and have thier say on the day when the commissioner was being elected!.

Posted by Andrew on 21 December 2012 at 22:06

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