City chiefs launch alcohol crackdown

Task force set up to tackle Glasgow’s ‘booze culture’
TOUGHER sanctions for off-sales caught selling alcohol to under 18s is one of a number of measures being considered by a new task force set up to tackle alcohol misuse in Glasgow.
Led by city council leader Gordon Matheson, the joint action group on alcohol includes Strathclyde Police chief constable Stephen House along with representatives from Glasgow Community and Safety Services, the city’s licensing board and the Procurator Fiscal.
It aims to find “practical solutions” to problems caused by alcohol misuse.
Teams will be set up to focus on four main areas – underage drinkers, binge drinkers, problem drinkers and anti-social behaviour – and report back to the group at the end of August with “detailed proposals on how to deliver practical results”.
City council leader Gordon Matheson (pictured) said the aim is to tackle alcohol-fuelled anti-social behaviour without harming the night-time economy.
“It’s vital that through the strategy this success is protected so that Glasgow continues to be the popular destination it has become and continues to reap the associated economic benefits,” he said. “It’s time to close the drinking dens that blight our residents’ lives. It’s time to stop shopkeepers ruining our children’s futures for the sake of a few extra sales.
“It’s also time for people to take responsibility – it isn’t good enough to be a law-abiding citizen Monday to Friday and then binge drink at the weekend to the extent that you’re a danger to yourself and others.”
Chief constable Stephen House said the affordability of alcohol had placed “significant” demands on police resources.
“Ask any of my officers, who have to deal with the aftermath, what they think the biggest problem is in our force area and all of them will tell you it’s alcohol,” he said.
The Glasgow task force comes as the Scottish Government considers banning off-sales in the city from selling alcohol before Old Firm matches as part of a range of measures to reduce alcohol consumption before and after the games.
A spokeswoman said no final decisions have been taken.
“The joint action group is continuing to examine a range of possible options for action and is due to report back to ministers with firm recommendations shortly,” she said.