Shops in part of the North East are being asked not to sell super-strength lager in a bid to drive down crime.
The Super-Strength initiative is being rolled out in Byker, in Newcastle’s east end, and will see shop owners asked to sign up to a scheme to stop the sale of “super strength” beers and ciders, those which have an alcohol content of more than 5.6%.
The scheme has been rolled out by the Riverside East Neighbourhood Policing Team to help reduce alcohol-related anti-social behaviour and crime, in particular incidents linked with drinking on the street.
Posters have been displayed in premises signed up to the scheme and to help promote others to get on board.
Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird QC has welcomed the scheme.
She said: “This campaign is about ensuring that we all work together to keep our communities safe. I’m pleased that shops in the area are supporting this campaign – it is by working together that we can make a real difference and I am sure this initiative will see positive effects very soon.”
Neighbourhood Inspector Ron Charlton hopes the scheme is as successful as a pilot run by Suffolk Constabulary.
He said: “The Ipswich scheme, which was run by Suffolk Constabulary, saw a 73% reduction in reports of street drinking made to police and a 31% reduction in crime. We hope that our Super-Strength scheme can reflect this success in Byker.
“We are asking off licences and other retailers to remove super strength alcohol products such as beer, wine and cider with an ABV of 5.6% or above in attempt to reduce anti-social behaviour and crime and disorder as well as improve the lives of those who currently misuse alcohol.
“The Neighbourhood team will continue to work with partners and retailers to keep Byker safe and help reduce anti-social behaviour.”
Coun Stephen Powers, chair of the Safe Newcastle group, said: “I’d like to thank retailers who have already signed up to this voluntary scheme, and I’d urge others to join them. By simply displaying a poster and not selling these lagers and ciders, they can make a real difference to the community and help us tackle anti-social behaviour.”