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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Call for more responsible alcohol sales

As Ministers propose a minimum price of 45p a unit for the sale of alcohol in England and Wales, two senior North Wales councillors have called on shops and supermarkets to be more responsible in their attitude towards the sale of alcohol.

The call was made by Councillor Phil Edwards, Conwy’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Councillor David Smith, Denbighshire Lead Member for Public Realm, following a meeting of the Conwy and Denbighshire Community Safety Strategic Group at Divisional Police HQ at St.Asaph to discuss ways of reducing violent crimes and their impact on communities.

The group was particularly concerned about the increased incidence of violence in the home.

Councillor Phil Edwards said: “The link between crimes and many offences involving violence has been long established. Licensing Committees on Local Authorities have made a great deal of headway in tackling troublesome pubs and off-licences but there is now a growing body of evidence that shows that alcohol induced violence in the homes has increased significantly and that this problem is made worse by the availability of cheap beers and strong ciders in retail outlets.

"The statistics that relate to domestic violence, which too often ends in tragedy for a family is frightening and it is high time we all started to tackle this seriously. At least one woman is killed every day by domestic violence and the link between this and too much alcohol is undeniable”.

Councillor Edwards added: “Shops and supermarkets need to remember that they are subject to the same strict Licensing Laws as pubs and clubs and if their activities contribute in any way against the Licensing Objectives, they will have to face the consequences in exactly the same way. In my view, there is very little difference between encouraging people to drink excessively in a ‘happy hour’ and encouraging people by offering alcohol at grossly reduced prices. The outcome too often is the same and it’s time that responsible sale of alcohol came before profits.”

Councillor David Smith agreed and said:“As responsible councillors we are concerned at the number of crimes associated with alcohol abuse, particularly alcohol induced crime in the home.

"In many cases, this is a result of readily available cheap alcoholic drinks many of which have high alcohol levels. I fully endorse the comments made by Councillor Phil Edwards and would ask retailers who sell alcohol to be more responsible in the way they sell alcohol to the public.”

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