Sobriety Orders to Tackle Alcohol Related Crime & Disorder
The government is planning to trial Sobriety Orders in an attempt to reduce alcohol related crime and disorder, especially from persistent offenders.
The idea, which originated in the USA, is another tool the courts can use to fight the negative impact of alcohol on our communities. This trial should be welcomed and it is a sign of positive progress that the government is taking measures to hold individuals accountable for their actions, alongside the powers they already have to punish rogue alcohol retailers.
The Sobriety Orders like their counterparts Exclusion Orders will be available to the courts when they sentence offenders for alcohol related crimes, they will ban people from drinking alcohol for a defined period of time. Monitoring for compliance will be either in the form of predetermined regular visits to police stations to be breathalysed or for more serious offenders (ones with community orders or suspended sentences) the wearing of an ankle bracelet which will monitor blood alcohol concentration on a more frequent basis.
Should the offender fail a sobriety test the courts would have the powers to imprison the individual for short periods of time or revoke suspended sentence and return offenders to custody.
The licensed retail and hospitality sector should welcome such a move as it removes problem drinkers from their premises or at least from drinking at their premises, reducing the negative impact they have on businesses across the country.
Any new measures which place the responsibility for alcohol related crime and disorder in the hands of the offender, rather than at the door of alcohol retailers who in most cases make efforts to control the sale of alcohol, must be welcomed. There must still be more work done to balance the burden of responsibility between retailers and consumers which will over time reduce the instances of alcohol fuelled crime and disorder.
The trials will start in selected parts of England and Wales in the next few of months
Date – 16th March 2012
Submitted by – Peter Mayhew is the Managing Director of Beyond the Blue Training & Consultancy.
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