The Home Office has today (Friday) launched a new phase of a programme to tackle alcohol-related crime and health harms and create a more diverse night-time economy.

The second phase of the Local Alcohol Action Areas (LAAA) programme will see 33 new regions coming on board, including the Isle of Wight. The programme initially launched in February 2014 covering 20 areas.

Thanks to the programme, the Island will be supported by the Government to implement the plan of action, which will see local agencies including licensing authorities, health bodies and police coming together with businesses to address problems caused by alcohol.

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Sarah Newton, Minister for Vulnerability, Safeguarding and Countering Extremism, said:

“Local Alcohol Action Areas demonstrate the Government’s commitment to work with industry, police, local authorities and other partners to make our streets safer.

“Violent crimes involving alcohol have fallen over the last decade – but it is clear that alcohol misuse has a significant impact on communities across the country.

“Our pubs, bars and restaurants make a valuable contribution to our economy and our society and it is important that people are able to enjoy them without the fear of becoming a victim of crime.”

Alcohol-related crime and disorder costs an estimated £11 billion per year in England and Wales, and the Government wants to support local communities in reducing the scenes of drunkenness and violence that blight communities, particularly at night.

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The first phase of LAAA saw a variety of interventions introduced to reduce street drinking, vulnerability and violence. These ranged from Club Hosts patrolling bars to offer help to those who are vulnerable, to mandatory safeguarding training for taxi drivers, increased trading standards activity on underage sales of alcohol, to a triage service for street drinkers, and even a non-alcoholic bar for teenagers.

The 33 new areas will be supported in developing and implementing their plans by Specialist Support Managers. They will receive support and expertise in crime prevention, licensing and public health from the Home Office, Public Health England, the Welsh Government and Nightworks, a company that specialises in diversifying the night-time economy.

Elaine Hindal, Chief Executive of Drinkaware said:

“Drinkaware is delighted to be a partner to the Home Office’s new Local Alcohol Action Areas.  Partnership-working is crucial to tackling alcohol harm and the LAAA project has been shown to have a galvanising impact which can foster innovation.

“Drinkaware’s now nationwide scheme to tackle vulnerability in the night time economy – Drinkaware Crew – started in the Nottinghamshire LAAA and we look forward to expanding Drinkaware Crew into new areas and continuing in collaboration to develop new interventions to reduce alcohol-related harm.”

The plans for the second phase of the LAAA include training on spotting and supporting vulnerability for night time economy workers, establishing safe spaces, awareness raising campaigns around alcohol misuse and domestic violence, and reviewing public transport.

The programme will run for 2 years and LAAA areas will also be put in touch with mentors who have successfully tackled the issues that they face and will come together to problem solve and share best practice.

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