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The impact of alcohol on Policing in the North East

There is a clear relationship between alcohol and crime. The North East’s police officers have to deal with the problems caused by alcohol on a daily basis. Half of all violent crime is alcohol-related and studies show that as alcohol consumption increases, so does violent offending. People who drink before going out for the night are more likely to be involved in a fight and around half of all violent incidents take place at the weekend when binge drinking is at its peak. Alcohol is also linked with 39% of domestic violence cases.

There is a massive financial burden placed upon the North East as a result of alcohol related crime and disorder. Work undertaken by Balance has shown that during 2010/11 more than £316m was spent dealing with an estimated 213,000 alcohol related crimes. This equates to £75.1m in Durham, £81.8m in Cleveland and £159.6m in Northumbria force areas.

Balance surveyed 1,100 frontline officers across the region’s three forces to further understand alcohol’s impact on the frontline and to gain their perceptions on the issue. A focus group was set up within each of the forces to allow for the viewpoints of officers to be explored and included.