Alcohol

  • Nearly 50 per cent of all violent crime is alcohol related.  A man collapsed over a table with beer bootles and glasses surrounding

  • Drink related anti-social behaviour is the most common form that people experience.  

  • Offenders are thought to be under the influence of alcohol in nearly half of all incidents of domestic abuse  

  • Alcohol plays a part in 25-33 per cent of known child abuse cases.   

  • Excessive drinking clearly increases the likelihood of people committing a crime or becoming a victim. 

Drunkenness can have a serious impact on the police - we want people to drink responsibly.Dealing with the consequences of irresponsible drinking in town centres at weekend nights takes up a significant amount of police resources. Nearly 50 per cent of all violent crime is alcohol related and drink-related anti-social behaviour is the most common form that people experience. 72% of assaults requiring treatment are alcohol related.

A responsible approach to drinking would mean that this wouldn’t be necessary and resources could then be used to benefit communities and other priorities. It would also reduce the likelihood of people becoming injured, or becoming a victim of crime. 

Offenders under the influence of alcohol are also thought to responsible for nearly half of all incidents of domestic abuse. Alcohol also plays a part in 25-33% of known child abuse cases. 

50% of 18-35 years ‘pre-load’ on a Friday or Saturday night – consuming alcohol at home before they go out. Pre-loading makes you 2.5 times more likely to be involved in violence as a victim or an offender and four times more likely to consume over 20 units in a single night. 

Owners and managers of licensed premises have a central role in reducing the impact of alcohol abuse. Promotion of soft and low alcohol alternatives and training for staff make a real difference to public safety. 

Alcohol abuse is a social issue that we all have a stake in solving. 


In the Northumbria Police area:

  • We include alcohol under our neighbourhood priorities where communities tell us that it is an issue which concerns them.

  • We carry out high visibility patrols at key times in areas where alcohol-related disorder occurs, working with partners to enforce Designated Public Place Orders (which mean it is an offence to drink alcohol in public areas).

  • We will confiscate alcohol being consumed in public where it is not permitted.

  • We carry out test purchase operations at off-licences,  using Bottle Watch – where alcohol is marked and the empties can be traced back to the shop where it was bought.

  • We have run drop-in advice 'shops' in some areas. 

  • We work with partners to tackle people committing offences within licensed premises or the city centre. Those offenders will be the subject of an exclusion order under the Pubwatch scheme. 

  • Officers and doormen receive special training to help them identify and protect vulnerable people. This is a programme which has now been rolled out nationally, but which originated in this area.

The harm that alcohol can do in our communities and the impact it has on policing can not be ignored.

Alcohol and the law

Generally speaking, drinking alcohol under the age of 18 is illegal and you can be prosecuted for it. Anyone who buys alcohol for someone under 18 can also be prosecuted. 

There are strict alcohol limits for drivers, but it is impossible to say exactly how many drinks this equals - it is different for each person.

The legal alcohol limit for drivers in the UK is:

•   35 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath

•   80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood

•   107 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of urine    

You can find out about the estimated units of alcohol on the drinkaware website

The effects of Alcohol

A drunk boyAlcohol can affect your mood and judgement, leading to dangerous situations you wouldn't normally get into because your judgement is impaired.Many young people and adults binge drink – consuming far too much at one time. This can have devastating consequences.Large amounts of alcohol can:

  • Slow your reflexes

  • Make you become violent or depressed

  • Affect your judgement

  • Damage your health

  • Cause violent vomiting

  • Depress the nerves that help you breathe

  • Depress your gag reflex - meaning if someone is sick they might choke on their own vomit if they are unconscious.