Tony Hogg meets supermarkets and retailers for alcohol talks
6th March 2014
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“I am about to publish my updated Police and Crime Plan, and tackling alcohol related crime and misuse is one of my top priorities.” said Mr Hogg.


“There is no ‘quick fix’ but I want this meeting to signal the start of long term engagement with the supermarkets and retailers.


“I am pleased that many have accepted this invitation to meet with me because I want to give them the opportunity to talk about the work they already do in this regard.


“I will certainly not be ‘lecturing’ them, but I will be looking for them to fully understand the issues here, and play their part in developing a considered, educated and joined up approach. I am also continuing dialogue with those that can’t attend this initial meeting.” 


Mr Hogg added: “Considerable policing resources are needed to deal with alcohol related crime and disorder. There are many factors that influence this and I am keen to take time to seek advice from a wide range of people to make sure that we get this right."


Mr Hogg has commissioned a short film to show at the start of the meeting - (


It contains interviews with Sarah Whitcher, from Plymouth, who has battled alcohol problems since being a teenager.


Sarah first met Mr Hogg at a public surgery event where she explained how the availability of cheap alcohol had led her into a life of addiction and then crime.


Now recovering, she wants to help Mr Hogg tackle these issues and has a clear message.


“When I was 18 I was getting into trouble,” she said.


“I was going out drinking. I wasn’t really getting the support that i needed at the time and I don’t feel that people really helped me.


“I don’t think the other services really understood what my problem was. I want to help other young people to stop them going through the routes that I have gone through, because it’s not a life.


“It’s a vicious circle and you get into that and it’s hard to get out of. A lot of it can lead to death. Drinking can lead to death. It’s a consequence of how much you have to drink with obviously the cheap alcohol at the present time in supermarkets."


The impact of ‘pre-loading’ is also highlighted in the film by Dr Adrian Barton from Plymouth University.


Dr Barton has carried out research in the city, mainly with students, and has concluded that drinking cheap alcohol at home before going on to pubs and clubs much later has created a ‘cultural shift’ in drinking patterns which has impacted on crime and disorder on our streets. 


“I think we need to stop basing our policy on a pub / club model,” he said. “It’s flawed and doesn’t reflect reality.


“We need to recognise that, if we’re serious about the night-time economy, you have to recognise where alcohol is being consumed, and it would appear for the 17-25 year olds that the bulk of the alcohol is being consumed at home.


“I think we need to recognise that, and begin to engage with supermarkets to get them to think about the impact the alcohol they are selling is having on the night-time economy."


The link between alcohol pre-loading and crime is confirmed by police officers.


Deputy Chief Constable Bill Skelly said: “There is no doubt that alcohol has a huge impact on our communities and the resources of Devon and Cornwall Police.


“A large proportion of violent crime in particular is related to alcohol and the associated antisocial behaviour that it causes.  It’s the duty of all licensees to sell alcohol responsibly, whether this be local bars or the larger supermarket traders.


“We are keen to build on the good work that has already taken place and develop effective ways of preventing the misuse and abuse of alcohol in the home and in public places.


“I welcome this initiative by the Police and Crime Commissioner to tackle this issue and bring all agencies and retailers together in a bid to deal with the impact of alcohol on our local communities.”


The need to engage and seek co-operation with supermarkets and retailers was highlighted by a consensus of opinion at Tony Hogg’s alcohol conference in Plymouth.  It’s a view shared by many who meet him at regular public engagement events. 


“Public order, or disorder, is a hot topic and  I share these concerns, which is why I have made it a top priority,” said Mr Hogg.


“Alcohol fuelled antisocial behaviour, leading to serious incidents and crime, is not acceptable and we have to tackle this head on. As a society we must decide what image we want to portray.”   


More details of Mr Hogg’s alcohol priorities and strategy will be published in his updated Police and Crime Plan later this month.


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