Minimum alcohol pricing considered in clampdown
MINIMUM pricing for alcohol and a reassessment of licensing hours will be considered in an effort to clamp down on anti-social behaviour in Town on Friday and Saturday nights.
The president of Home Affairs, Deputy Mary Lowe, told States deputies that half of all arrests in Guernsey last year were drink-related, and there was a sharp rise in the number of assaults on police officers.
In her general update statement, Deputy Lowe said that deputies had to recognise that there was a ‘social cultural issue’ with alcohol on the island.
‘It would be too easy for this Assembly to sit back and see this as someone else’s problem. The fact is that it is ours. Excess alcohol consumption leads to disorder, violence, injury, illness and disruption of lives and it is this Assembly, through its committees, that can change the situation.
‘As an example, we have seen the effectiveness of the introduction of minimum pricing for alcohol in Scotland and it may be the same needs to be explored here.’
‘We may also need to consider whether late-night drinking in pubs and clubs should be reassessed.’
Scotland has a minimum alcohol price of 50p per unit, and it is estimated that this saves hundreds of lives a year and prevents thousands of crimes, as well as promoting a healthier lifestyle.
The 2018 annual report of Bailiwick Law Enforcement flagged up the negative impacts on the community of excess alcohol consumption.
Forty-six police officers – nearly a third of the force – were assaulted while at work last year. Of the 1,347 people who were taken into custody last year, 514 were easily identified as being under the influence of drink.
Deputy David De Lisle questioned whether the more relaxed approach to pub closing times was fuelling the anti-social problems.
‘Some, particularly residents in the centre of Town, believe that licensing hours are too liberal and should be tightened to counter rowdyism and other problems on Friday and Saturday evenings.’
The Drug and Alcohol Strategy falls under the remit of Health & Social Care, and its president, Deputy Heidi Soulsby, confirmed that minimum pricing of alcohol was being considered.
In relation to alcohol, Deputy Soulsby asked whether it was time for domestic abuse legislation to be brought in Guernsey, and Deputy Lowe agreed that this was also needed.
In the States Page 5