I have questions. Is there a link between violent crime and alcohol? Is there a link between health and alcohol? Is anyone bothered?
On July 27th there was a licencing hearing where I tried to stop a shop in a residential street selling alcohol from 6am to 11pm.
My argument centred on the fact the ward where the shop wished to operate should be treated as a special case as, according to my research (the police were unable to provide me with any figures), I had discovered from the Colne and District Committee report on Pendle Council’s website that it is the worst area for all types of crime. When I looked at how the crimes were separated into categories I discovered it is an area with the highest call-outs in Pendle for anti-social behaviour and double the number of average call-outs for domestic violence in Lancashire.
To me and the 52 other people who asked the council not to allow this shop to sell alcohol, it made no sense that in an area already high in anti-social and violent crime another outlet that sells a substance known to increase anti-social and violent behaviour should be allowed to be opened.
I had hoped, given the significance of the area, that a representative from the police would have been at the hearing to assure us no link exists between drink availability and violent crime/anti-social behaviour.
I sent them an email telling them the outcome of the hearing, just in case they were interested.
During the hearing, I also reminded councillors of the health risks that alcohol consumption can bring, such as heart and liver disease as well as the ability over time to destroy brain cells.
It is also well documented that alcohol causes problems in a person’s family life and work.
I tried to give this hearing an opportunity to reflect on the unnecessary cost this addictive substance puts on our society.
Perhaps the councillors were not interested or felt they did not have the power under law to prevent the selling of alcohol.
Although I felt deflated over the result, I was interested to hear how a London council is making a stand on the issue of violent crime and alcohol abuse.
Those committing offences while drunk in Croydon are tagged and banned from drinking.
The tags record alcohol intake by measuring air and sweat emissions from the skin. Authorities claim it has a success rate above 95% and reduces re-offending and domestic violence.
All I wanted was to prevent a grocery store from selling alcohol in my street.
My final question...was it too much to ask?