23 October 2013

Council puts super strength alcohol on the agenda

Licensing and trading standards officers at Brighton & Hove City Council  are working with Sussex Police to develop a voluntary scheme for businesses where they can join together to limit the availability of super-strength alcohol in the city.

The Sensible on Strength scheme would encourage licensed businesses to voluntarily stop selling beer, lager and cider above 6% alcohol by volume (abv) and put in place other good practice measures including a refusals system, CCTV and documented training.

Limiting the availability of super-strength alcohol would help promote all four of the city’s licensing objectives through an accredited scheme and a campaign, backed by the council and police and welcomed by local residents and businesses.

Sales of super-strength alcohol can cause significant problems for street drinkers. In August the council revoked a licence from an off-licence following representations from the local community for systematically selling super-strength alcohol to street drinkers.

Councillor Stephanie Powell, chair of the city’s Licensing Committee, said: “We have been working on this scheme for some time, through our licensing activities and contact with residents, the police, businesses and councillors.

“As a result I will be asking for a proposal to be brought to the next Licensing Committee on 21 November. If agreed, we will launch the voluntary scheme shortly afterwards.

"Over the summer our officers talked to local businesses and more than 60 have already volunteered to take super-strength alcohol off their shelves, which is very encouraging.”

Chief Inspector Simon Nelson, added,: "We know that super-strength alcohol is bought with the sole intention of getting drunk fast, and this has a profound effect on both the community and those who are alcohol dependent. A vast majority of licensed traders in the city work closely with us to run lawful, successful businesses but we all need to recognise that super-strength products have no part to play within responsible trading. We ask that all of the off-licenses work closely with us to do what is best for our communities, particularly the vulnerable, who count on us to do the right thing."

 

Notes for editors

In August, the Licensing Panel revoked the licence of B & W Stores in York Place for systematically selling super-strength alcohol to street drinkers http://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/shop-has-licence-revoked-selling-alcohol-street-drinkers

In drawing up a local voluntary scheme, Brighton & Hove has been researching a similar scheme in Ipswich  http://www.suffolk.police.uk/safetyadvice/personalsafety/alcoholawareness/reducingthestrength.aspx

 

Brighton & Hove's licensing objectives are

Prevention of crime and disorder

Prevention of public nuisance

Public safety

Protection of children from harm.

A single 500ml can of 9% super-strength lager contains four and a half units of alcohol, which exceeds the government's daily recommended safe alcohol limit of between two to three units for women and three to four units for men.