COUNTLESS hours of police time and valuable resources are wasted each year dealing with booze-fuelled crime in Chester, according to police leaders.
County police and crime commissoner John Dwyer said Cheshire Police last year dealt with more than 5,500 crimes which could be attributed to alcohol.
The force has launched a campaign entitled Totally Wasted in order to highlight the problem and in an attempt to change people’s attitudes.
And Mr Dwyer has now penned an open letter to people in Chester drawing attention to the campaign and the amount of resources being wasted.
He said changes to licensing laws, increased competition between bars and pubs, and the amount of people who drink at home before going out were all contributory factors. Mr Dwyer said: “Changes to the licensing laws in 2005 enabled many towns to relax opening times, allowing bars to continue serving late into the early hours of the morning.
“This was intended to promote a Continental culture and prevent the traditional last-orders flashpoints, but in areas has bred competition, causing them to open later and later. It is not uncommon for them to still be trading after 5am.
“The culture and impact, especially amongst drinkers of ‘pre-loading’ – drinking copious amounts of cheap alcohol at home before their night out – has increased and is now the norm.
“Bars compete to increasingly have cheaper and cheaper drinks promotions – inviting people to come out earlier, stay out longer and consume more alcohol.
“The result is more drunkenness, disorder and violence in our towns.
“The demand is seen across public services not only by the police but also in our hospitals, ambulance service, fire service and local authorities, all of whom are left to deal with the consequences of alcohol abuse.”
“This is sadly a picture replicated across the country.”
In August, Cheshire West and Chester Council revealed that £136 million was spent dealing with alcohol-related problems across West Cheshire each year.
Health leaders said urgent action and new approaches were needed to tackle the problem after revealing almost 25 per cent of over-16s are now classed as binge drinkers.