City to get Government help to crackdown on crime

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Wakefield is to get extra help from the Government to reduce the harm caused by alcohol.

The city, along wtih Barnsley, Doncaster and Hull, is among the 33 areas of the country which will become part of the Home Office’s local alcohol action area (LAAA) programme.

The programme first launched in February 2014, covering 20 areas of the country, with schemes including mandatory safeguarding training for taxi drivers.

The second phase of the plan will see the 33 areas’ agencies, including licensing authorities, health bodies and police, come together with businesses with the help of the Government.

They will receive support and expertise in crime prevention, licensing and public health from the Home Office, Public Health England and Nightworks, a company that specialises in ‘diversifying’ the night-time economy.

The programme will run for two years and authorities will also be put in touch with mentors who have successfully tackled similar issues.

Alcohol-related crime and disorder costs an estimated £11 billion per year in England and Wales, according to the Government.

Sarah Newton, Minister for Vulnerability, Safeguarding and Countering Extremism, said: “Local alcohol action areas demonstrate the government’s commitment to work with industry, police, local authorities and other partners to make our streets safer.

“Violent crimes involving alcohol have fallen over the last decade - but it is clear that alcohol misuse has a significant impact on communities across the country.

“Our pubs, bars and restaurants make a valuable contribution to our economy and our society and it is important that people are able to enjoy them without the fear of becoming a victim of crime.”

Sarah Hanratty, Interim Chief Executive for the Portman Group said: “We warmly welcome the second round of the LAAAs; and the opportunity to support local communities in reducing alcohol-related harm and creating safe and thriving night time economies.

“Drinks producers and retailers have an important role to play and are committed to reducing the harms related to alcohol misuse through their support of the local alcohol partnership schemes; a range of initiatives that work to make local communities safer and create great places for people to live, work and socialise.”