Message to drinkers

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Police in St Helens have pledged to get tough on people who drink irresponsibly.

Officers will be visiting schools and colleges across the borough to drive home the message about responsible drinking.

They have also beefed up their presence in the town centre in a bid to tackle problem boozers.

Patrols will also be calling in unannounced on pubs and clubs to check they are being run correctly.

Superintendent Mark Wiggins, who is running the operation, said: “Figures from across the country show that nearly fifty per cent of all violent crime is alcohol related and that figure rises to nearly 75 per cent if we look at assualts which require treatment.”

Superintendent Wiggins also warned drinkers to avoid the practice of ‘pre-loading’ when revellers down booze at home .

“If you pre-load and are on the way to being drunk before you even leave home, you are 2.5 times more likely to be involved in violence, either as a victim or an offender,” he said.

“People drinking too much can also have a devastating effect on communities, with alcohol related anti-social behaviour by far the most common form that people experience.

“The message seems pretty clear. If you drink too much, you are putting yourselves and others at risk and are far more likely to end up involved in criminal behaviour.

“That’s why we are working hard with our partners and the licensing industry to promote responsible drinking across Merseyside and make sure that our town centres and Liverpool city centre remain great places to enjoy a safe night out.

“We have spent the week so far getting some of our key messages out and this weekend we will be out across the force re-inforcing them, including increased patrols, the use of drugs dogs and visiting licensed premises.”

Meanwhile, the force is issuing a new proof of age card which include a unique hologram system.

Superintendent Wiggins added: “Up until now there have been lots of different cards under the scheme which haven’t been widely accepted. This has meant young people still carry passports or driving licenses as proof of ID, many of which end up lost or stolen and being used fraudulently.

“The new card incorporates proper checks on those approving the applications and will have a single design which incorporates the unique “PASS” hologram. We are confident the new card will be widely accepted and should mean that people who are over 18 can get into licensed premises and those who aren’t, can’t.

“People need to take responsibility for their own drinking and the consequences it has, but the pro-active stance we are taking should ensure that our night time economies across Merseyside remain safe for everyone to enjoy.”