Police commissioner warns revellers over New Year drinking

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A CRIME-FIGHTING chief has urged people to beware of their drinking over the New Year.

Ron Hogg (pictured), Durham’s Police and Crime Commissioner, has advised people to be aware of the dangers of alcohol.

He said tackling the harm caused to individuals and communities by alcohol and drugs is one of his policing priorities, and he has tasked Chief Constable Mike Barton to focus on the issue.

Mr Hogg and the PCCs for Cleveland and Northumbria have written a public letter criticising the Government for what they believe is a lack of action, or response, to introducing a minimum unit price for alcohol.

Mr Hogg said: “Drinking cheap, high-strength alcohol bought in supermarkets and consumed at home is recognised as a cause for concern and has encouraged high levels of intoxication whilst lowering the demand for alcohol in licensed premises.

“As a result of this, County Durham and Darlington has seen a decline in the night-time economy in recent years.” Mr Hogg has also expressed concern at the link between alcohol and domestic violence.

He said: “When people choose to drink at home, there are fewer controls compared to licensed premises.

“The links nationally between alcohol consumption and domestic violence are well established, and Durham Constabulary has undertaken a great deal of work in identifying at an early stage those at risk of offending.

“The festive season can be a great opportunity to relax, have fun and enjoy time with family and friends. However, I urge people to be aware of their alcohol limits and look out for each other, particularly for those who may become vulnerable and are most at risk.”