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Police chiefs cold on "drunk tanks" plan
POLICE and alcohol campaigners have given a lukewarm response to calls for privately-run “drunk tanks”.
Police and crime commissioners in the region say there are better ways of reducing alcohol-fuelled disorder than by placing intoxicated revellers in commercially-run cells and charging them for their care the next morning.
Despite the proposal getting support this week from the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), Julia Mulligan, North Yorkshire’s police and crime commissioner, said she was not a fan of the idea.
Mrs Mulligan said the problems caused by alcohol had got worse since licensing laws were relaxed by the last government.
Rather than opening privately run custody facilities for drunks, she said the country needed a “fundamental review” of licensing law to reverse the effects of late night drinking.
“We also need to concentrate on working better with our partners in the health service and local authorities.
“For example, local councils need to step up and put in place some of the new measures that are available to them, such as the late night levy being considered in York.”
Ron Hogg, Durham police and crime commissioner, also opposes the idea.
“I am not especially supportive of drunk tanks, he said.
“I feel that they are not places of safety - with custody officers not being medically trained the concept could bring a whole range of problems and inadequate care for the prisoners.”
Colin Shevills, director of Balance, the North-East Alcohol Office, said he sympathised with the police, who faced the problems caused by alcohol misuse on a regular basis.
However, he added: “This measure will only deal with the symptoms of excessive drinking rather than the root causes.
“In order to reduce the impact of alcohol misuse we need to de-normalise excessive drinking.
“Alcohol is too available, too affordable and too heavily promoted, particularly when it comes to vulnerable members of our society, such as young people.”
Balance is urging the Government to introduce a minimum unit price for alcohol, which it claims would drastically reduce crime and hospital admissions.
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