The inaugural Local Alcohol Partnerships North East regional best practice and networking seminar took place on Wednesday 13 March at the Sage Gateshead. Supported by the Portman Group, it brought together councillors, the police, charities and industry funded groups to build more programmes to make the region’s night time economy safer.

The North East best practice seminar heard from Keynote Speaker, Hardyal Dhindsa, the National Lead on Alcohol and Substance Misuse for the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners and the PCC for Derbyshire. He called for greater partnership working in the North East where the 2017 Public Health England scores the region as having circa 22% higher than the national average for alcohol related deaths.

Hardyal Dhindsa said:

“Police and Crime Commissioners recognise that partnership working, and the ability to share good practice and learning, is essential if we are to improve outcomes around problem drinking. Initiatives such as Purple Flag, Best Bar None and the Proof of Age Standards Scheme (PASS), to name a few, are some excellent examples of partners working together to reduce alcohol harm”

John Timothy, Chief Executive of the Portman Group, said:

“The message that came out loudly and clearly that partnership working is essential to achieving a safer night time economy and reducing alcohol harm. We want to help establish more schemes in the region to help reduce the high level of alcohol harm in the North East. We continue to work with all interested parties to build on the good work to date.”

Local Alcohol Partnerships promotes a number of solutions to drive up standards and tackle alcohol related issues in the night-time economy and local communities, including anti-social behaviour, under-age sales, and vulnerability. A range of schemes already operate in the region, including Pubwatch, Best Bar None, Community Alcohol Partnerships and Street Pastors, but there is a real opportunity to expand these into other areas to contribute to other local initiatives to reduce alcohol harms.