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Force highlights the damaging impact of booze during Alcohol Awareness Week 2021

15 November 2021
Dorset Police is supporting this year’s Alcohol Awareness Week, taking place between Monday 15 and Sunday 21 November 2021, to raise awareness of how alcohol can affect us and our relationships and can contribute to offending behaviour.

The Force is joining over 4,000 other community groups across the UK to mark the week, which this year centres on the theme of alcohol and relationships. 

Many of us drink alcohol for a variety of ever-changing reasons, including: to relax, to socialise, to de-stress, to have fun, to relieve boredom, to deal with feelings of loneliness, and to try and cope with or avoid problems. However, drinking too much and too often can cause or exacerbate all sorts of problems with our physical and mental health, including damaging relationships with our loved ones. 

You are also more likely to commit a crime when you have been drinking and Dorset Police received over 8,000 crime reports linked to alcohol between October 2020 and September 2021. Over a third of these reports were for alcohol-related violence against individuals. In addition, there were nearly 1,700 reported incidents of anti-social behaviour (ASB) fuelled by alcohol.

Across the week, Dorset Police will be sharing information about spotting the signs of alcohol reliance and the negative effects it can have on relationships with friends and family. 

In addition, there will be real-life stories, including the experience of someone whose drinking played a big part in their offending. Talking anonymously, they said: “When I went to court and they were showing me these pictures, I was like ‘did I really do that to someone?’.

“Addiction is one of those things that you don’t see coming. I wish people would realise before it takes hold of them.”

Chief Inspector Lindsay Dudfield, prevention lead for Dorset Police, said: “Alcohol and violence are a toxic cocktail. This awareness week is an opportunity for us all to think about how we drink and the impact that alcohol might have beyond just a sore head the next morning.

“Drinking can become a central part of the way we spend time with others and as police we see some of the worst consequences of this, from abusive, rowdy or intimidating behaviour, to violent assaults and fatal road traffic collisions.

“We will continue to target alcohol-fuelled crime and anti-social behaviour, including our continued work through Operation Relentless – the Force’s commitment to our communities to tackle ASB.”

Police and Crime Commissioner and the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) co-joint lead for alcohol and substance misuse David Sidwick said: "The focus of this year’s Alcohol Awareness Week being on ‘relationships’ gives me the opportunity to talk about some of the commissioning work that goes on behind the scenes to tackle reoffending and rehabilitation when it comes to alcohol misuse.”

Dorset Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) has funded vital projects, such as Druglink’s Diversion Scheme which aims to increase people’s understanding of low-level offending related to substance misuse. This scheme brings into sharp focus the realities of misuse and addiction to those taking part, highlighting the potential risks of alcohol or drug-fuelled situations and the consequences that substance misuse can have, which can sadly be devastating in some cases, especially when addiction starts to take hold.

“My office also funds both Dorset and BCP Councils’ public health bodies to provide a free tailor-made course to those who are going through the community resolution or conditional caution process, where alcohol has been a defining feature of their actions. The course targets making a behavioural change in order to reduce re-offending and gives those taking part, access to the support they need by signposting them to a range of other services and organisations.

“The work of PCC’s across the country in commissioning such schemes and projects is vital if we are to deal with the crime-related outcomes alcohol and substance misuse.”

Chief Inspector Lindsay Dudfield continued: “It is never too late to take back control from alcohol. I urge people to start conversations and listen to each other so that we can all make more informed choices. Help and support is out there.”

If you are worried about your alcohol use or if you are concerned about a friend or family member, help is available: https://alcoholchange.org.uk/help-and-support/get-help-now
 

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