Students are being targeted in the latest phase of a campaign designed to reduce drunkenness in Liverpool.
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.
It’s got the backing of student representatives at the University of Liverpool, Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) and Liverpool Hope University, and is being launched on Friday 14 October in Liverpool Students Union on Byrom Street.
The aim is to encourage 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.
It will use radio, digital and outdoor advertising near shops, pubs and bars, and posters and other campaign material in bars.
The campaign, a joint initiative between Liverpool City Council, Merseyside Police and CitySafe, 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.
Mayoral lead for Community Safety, Councillor Emily Spurrell, said: “All the evidence we have shows that 18-30 year olds are most likely to get drunk on a night out, and this places a huge strain on public services such as the police, ambulance staff and hospitals at a time when they are already under massive pressure.
“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 aren’t telling people not to drink and we don’t want to stop people enjoying themselves. This is about having less, pacing your evening and not overdoing it. That way you will have a better and safer night, significantly reducing your chances of ending up in hospital.
“We’re working closely with bars and clubs in the city centre and around popular student areas on Allerton Road and Lark Lane 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 order to reduce drunkenness both in the city centre and also areas popular with students around Lark Lane and Allerton Road.
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 bladderedâ¦Gutted :(.”
Superintendent Mark Wiggins from Merseyside Police said: “We know that about half of all violent crimes committed are alcohol-related and that if you drink at home before going out, you are more likely to be involved in violence, either as a victim or as an offender.
“Liverpool’s night time economy is 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 come into town to enjoy the night life and we want to ensure those people leave with great memories and are keen to come back time and time again.
“This scheme isn’t about stopping people having a good time or aimed at those who drink responsibly – it’s there to help identify the small minority of people who have too much alcohol and could end up being a danger either to themselves or others. People should ask themselves whether they want to have their night ended early having been 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 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. We hope this initiative will help make Liverpool an even safer place for locals and visitors alike to enjoy a night out.”
Liverpool Students’ Union Vice President (Community Engagement), Daniel Crombleholme, said: “We all know that Liverpool is a fantastic city with a great culture and vibrant night time economy. We want all students to have a great experience in the city and love their time here. We also want students, both in front of and behind the bar, to ensure that everyone has a safe and enjoyable time in our city’s great venues.
“LiverpoolSU is one of the first Unions in the UK to be awarded the Alcohol Impact accreditation from the National Union of Students and the Home Office. Our work aims to create a positive culture of responsible drinking and promotes safer drinking behaviours on campus and in communities.
“We’ve worked closely with all stakeholders in various campaigns for a number of years and Drink Less Enjoy More is another great example of this great partnership work.”