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alcohol health alliance uk

Tackling alcohol-related violence in Stockton

Posted 28/06/11

The NHS is playing an increasingly important role in tackling alcohol-related violence in Stockton, according to pioneering research commissioned by Balance, the North East Alcohol Office.

A&E staff at University Hospital of North Tees have been gathering information anonymously from people who have been involved in alcohol-related assaults to establish in more detail the impact of alcohol misuse in Stockton.

As part of an ongoing regional information sharing project, A&E staff have been recording where and when an incident took place and whether a weapon was used. The information has been shared with the police and other partners to help them target ‘hotspots’ in a bid to reduce alcohol-related violence and reduce A&E admissions and Stockton is one of the most advanced areas in the country.

The North East is the first area in the UK to implement the project region-wide. It is led by Balance, the North East Alcohol Office and local Community Safety Partnerships including Safer Stockton Partnership and Safer Hartlepool Partnership, which involve local authorities, the police, the health service and other key agencies.

Sue Taylor, Partnerships Manager at Balance said: “These findings highlight the fact that excess alcohol consumption fuels violent crime, increasing the likelihood that North Easterners will be involved in an assault – either as the perpetrator or the victim.

“The widespread availability and affordability of alcohol is to blame – and we need to address these issues to reduce ‘second hand harm’ caused by alcohol misuse.

“A big problem we face is pre-loading – or drinking copious amounts of alcohol to prepare for a night out. People are hitting our towns and cities already drunk – and some are ready to fight. This is putting an unnecessary burden on our A&E Departments, but by collecting and sharing assault data, the NHS is playing a really important role in tackling alcohol-related violence at its source.”

Councillor Steve Nelson, Stockton’s Cabinet Member for Housing & Community Safety, said “We welcome the availability of the A & E information, which is helping us to get an even better picture, by identifying the assault incidents which don’t get reported. This enables the Council, police and other partners within the Safer Stockton Partnership to target their resources more precisely, and to drive crime in Stockton down to even lower levels”.