Revellers urged to drink less and enjoy more

A scheme aimed at reducing drunkenness in Liverpool city centre is getting underway.

Using the slogan ‘Drink Less Enjoy More’, it is aimed at 18 – 30 year olds and warns that they risk having their night out cut short as bar staff may refuse to serve them.

The campaign encourages young people to cut back on how much they drink at home before going out – so-called ‘pre-loading’ – as well as how much they consume when visiting bars, pubs and clubs.

The campaign, a joint initiative between Liverpool City Council, Merseyside Police, CitySafe and Liverpool NHS Clinical Commissioning Group, aims to raise 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 – but local research shows only half of people are aware of the law.

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

Mayoral lead for Community Safety, Councillor Emily Spurrell, said: “Drinking excessively places a huge strain on public services such as the police, ambulance staff and hospitals.

“Almost three quarters of 18-30 year olds who need an ambulance to take them to hospital are taken between midnight and 5am. Most instances are at the weekend, with many incidents preventable if people hadn’t drunk too much.

“We don’t want to stop people enjoying themselves and we are not telling them not to drink. What we are saying is that by having less and not overdoing it you will have a better and safer night.

“We are also working closely with bars and clubs in Liverpool city centre on this issue to support their staff to help keep people safer, and not serve them if they are excessively drunk.”

The council’s Alcohol and Tobacco Unit staff are running training sessions to support bar staff to confidently refuse service to someone who is clearly drunk. Merseyside Police will be actively enforcing the laws in Liverpool City Centre in order to reduce drunkenness.

The campaign features a range of advertising including posters with text conversations between friends to illustrate how their night out could be ruined if they ignore the law, including: “Dean, don’t get too smashed mate! We won’t get served anywhere later” and “Looks like an early taxi home for us lads. They won’t serve us because Ryan’s bladdered”.

Superintendent Mark Wiggins from Merseyside Police said: “We know that around 50 per cent of all violent crimes committed are alcohol related and that if you drink at home, then go out, you are more likely to be involved in violence, either as a victim or as an offender.

“Liverpool’s night time economy is rightly famous and the city has a well-deserved reputation as a safe and vibrant place to enjoy a night out. Every weekend at least 100,000 people visit to enjoy the night life and we want to ensure those people leave with memories of a fantastic night out and are keen to come back time and time again.

“This scheme isn’t aimed at those who drink responsibly – it’s there to help identify the small minority of people who have had too much alcohol and could end up being a danger either to themselves or others. People need to ask themselves whether they want to have their night ended early because they are refused entry to a bar due to them having consumed too much alcohol too early. Drink sensibly and enjoy your night out with friends.

“We are working with our partners to educate staff at licences premises so that they are not breaking the law by serving people who have clearly already had enough to drink.

“Merseyside Police is committed to reducing violent crime and making the streets safe and if successful, this initiative should help to make Liverpool an even safer place for locals and visitors alike to enjoy a night out.”

‘Drink Less Enjoy More’ will use a range of communication channels to provide people with friendly reminders about the law. This includes radio and social media advertising, posters outside licensed premises such as supermarkets and pubs and materials in bars.