Reduction in drunks being served following campaign

A campaign to ensure people in Liverpool who are excessively drunk do not get served alcohol in pubs and bars in the city is proving to be a huge success, according to new research.

In 2013 a study by the Centre for Public Health at Liverpool John Moore University showed that in Liverpool 84% of attempts to purchase alcohol by actors pretending to be drunk were successful. This study was replicated in the city towards the end of November this year and resulted in just 26% of the actor attempts being successful, a huge 58% reduction.

Crime figures show that 97% of people arrested for a violent offence after 11pm have been drinking and excessive drunkenness places a huge strain on public services such as the police, ambulance staff and hospitals. To tackle the issue, a CitySafe initiative ‘Drink Less Enjoy More’ between Liverpool City Council, Merseyside Police, and Liverpool NHS Clinical Commissioning Group, is being run aimed at reducing drunkenness in Liverpool City Centre.

Focusing on 18 – 30 year olds in particular, the campaign raises awareness of the 2003 licensing act, which states it is illegal to:

• Buy alcohol for someone who is clearly drunk
• For bar staff to serve someone who is clearly drunk

Both offences are punishable with a fine of up to £1,000 and premises found to be serving people who are clearly drunk are also at risk of being stripped of their licence.

A social marketing campaign which includes radio and digital messaging, as well as outdoor advertising in bus stops by off licenses and universities, has been running since October. In addition to providing information about the laws, it encourages young people to cut back on how much they drink at home before going out (preloading) as well as how much they consume when visiting bars, pubs and clubs.

'Drink Less Enjoy More' campaign poster
‘Drink Less Enjoy More’ campaign poster

The council’s Alcohol and Tobacco Unit staff run training sessions to support bar staff to confidently refuse service to someone who is clearly drunk. At the same time Merseyside Police are actively working with the licensed trade to ensure the laws are observed in Liverpool City Centre. Extra patrols are issuing warnings and if necessary fines to those found to be breaking these laws.

Through working in partnership with local bars and the extensive multi-media marketing campaign, Liverpool has significantly reduced the number of bars who serve alcohol to people who are drunk.

Superintendent Mark Wiggins from Merseyside Police said “Whilst we are really happy with the effect the intervention has had so far, the work doesn’t stop there. We will be monitoring the situation closely to ensure that those bars who failed the testing by serving to drunks, take the necessary steps to make sure those mistakes don’t happen again. Those that don’t will be dealt with by the police and licensing authority.

“Although the majority of people go out in Liverpool for a good time and come home safe, some drink too much too early and get too drunk. It means they risk ruining the night for themselves and their friends as they will not get let into a pub or bar let alone served any more alcohol. Liverpool is a popular, vibrant city which offers a great night. Our message is clear: if you drink a little less you should actually have a far better and safer night out.”

Councillor Emily Spurrell, Mayoral Lead for Community Safety, said: “We are very proud of what we have achieved through this multi-partner approach. Liverpool is a great city and we want it to continue to be a place where people feel safe and can enjoy their night. It is hoped the intervention will reduce the number of people who require ambulance and A &E support each weekend as a consequence of their alcohol consumption.

Cllr Spurrell added: “We want everyone to have a safe and enjoyable night out, and encouraging people to not get excessively drunk will help ensure they can enjoy everything Liverpool nightlife has to offer.”

Follow the campaign on Twitter @drinkless_enjoy