Fifth of Sunderland police have faced at least six drunken attacks

Colin Shevills, director of Balance.
Colin Shevills, director of Balance.
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ONE in five police officers in the force serving Sunderland has been assaulted six or more times by booze-fuelled yobs while in the line of duty.

The shock figures come as part of a new report by North East Alcohol Office Balance, which also revealed that new recruits to Northumbria Police are warned that they will probably be the victim of an alcohol-related assault before they have reached their first full year of service.

The research, entitled The Impact of Alcohol on Policing in the North East, surveyed 1,100 officers on the frontline of the region’s three police forces.

Northumbria Police crime commissioner, Vera Baird, urged “change” in regards to the pricing of alcohol.

“While crime rates are falling in the three force areas in the North East, the link between cheap alcohol and crime and disorder is undeniable,” she said.

“We have to deal with problems relating to alcohol on a daily basis, and our officers see first-hand the major impact that this is having on individuals and our communities – as well as the personal risk to our officers.

“Almost nine in 10 officers said that they believe cheap alcohol attributes to alcohol-related crime and disorder. This needs to change.

“We, along with thousands of others across the North East, believe that a minimum unit price on alcohol is needed to reduce alcohol consumption in the region – and also reduce crime in our communities.”

Balance continues to call for a minimum alcohol price of 50p per unit, which they believe could eventually save almost 4,000 lives a year.

Colin Shevills, of Balance, said: “We know that the more affordable alcohol is, the more people consume.

“We therefore urge the Government to stand firm on its commitment to introduce a minimum unit price on alcohol.

“A minimum unit price will make cheap, strong alcohol less affordable to the vulnerable younger and heavier drinkers who are more likely to drink it and suffer the consequences.

“If set at 50p, research carried out by the University of Sheffield indicates that after 10 years, every year in England it will cut crimes by 45,800.

“It would only cost a moderate drinker an extra 28p per week and wouldn’t affect the price of a pint in a community pub.”