First Alcohol Diversion Course takes place in Dorset
Dorset’s first half day educational course as part of the innovative Alcohol Diversion Scheme has been held in Bournemouth, targeting offenders issued with Penalty Notices for Disorder (PNDs) for alcohol related offences.
The course was held on Saturday 14 September 2013 ahead of the national ‘In Focus’ Alcohol Harm campaign being run by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) to highlight issues surrounding excess alcohol consumption.
Offenders that are eligible for the scheme in Dorset are those who have been issued with PNDs for offences which include drunk and disorderly, Public Order Act offences and low-level thefts and damage where alcohol is the contributing factor. Courses cost £40 and once satisfactorily completed, the PND will be cancelled.
The course covers a number of subjects relating to alcohol, including health management, consequences and ways forward for individuals to address their problems.
Nine individuals attended the first course, two of whom were waiting to attend detox units. All were reminded that attendance is an admission that their behaviour on the night of the incident was inappropriate.
Two of the students were brought into the session by concerned parents who stated they were relieved that the authorities were working together not only targeting inappropriate behaviour, but also educating and challenging it.
Course trainer Richard Pearce said: “The course was emotionally charged with a lot of tears and some eye opening admissions with no punches being pulled. All attendees gave honest feedback which greatly enhanced the session. One alcoholic divulged that he has two months to get his life back on track or he will not be able to give his daughter away at her wedding.
“During the discussion, one of the students also shared information in graphic detail about one of his friends who had died recently from choking on his own vomit. This was a real eye opener for those who deny they have a drink problem, or believe that alcohol is not an issue.
“We do not want the course to be a weak alternative to escaping the legal system. It is a serious poke between the eyes getting the small minority who spoil the weekend for others to understand that their selfish actions are not acceptable.”
The scheme is being trialled by Dorset Police, in partnership with local authorities, and is run by registered charity Druglink.
The next course is planned for early November.
Issued: 19 September 2013