Binge drinkers forced into counselling

People arrested for alcohol-related offences will be forced to undergo a referral process which includes counselling, Home Office minister Alan Campbell announced today.

The project requires those arrested for alcohol-related offences to have their drinking habits assessed and to sit in counselling sessions meant to help reduce alcohol consumption. For more severe cases, offenders will be referred to more specialised sessions.

Attendance is required under penalty of prosecution for the original offence.

“Most people enjoy drinking sensibly but those who drink excessively and cause trouble should expect to face up to the consequences,” Mr Campbell said.

Nine alcohol arrest referral projects will be piloted as part of a scheme designed to increase alcohol awareness and reduce repeat-offender rates. One million pounds will be provided to police and drugs and alcohol teams for the project’s implementation.

The projects have been welcomed by alcohol reduction charities and police teams, as they are expected to ‘motivate change’ by providing ‘real practical help and support’.

“The importance of early intervention to break persistent offenders out of the cycle of drink-fuelled offending cannot be overstated,” said an ACPO spokesman.

The nine new projects, which build on four existing pilots, will be implemented in north-east Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Cleveland, Bristol, Swindon, Leicestershire and Rutland, Stoke on Trent, Cumbria and Islington.