Hi all,

During the week I met with representatives of Wolverhampton’s Public Health department which is part of the Primary Care Trust. They were two inspirational ladies who were extremely knowledgeable and passionate about tackling all aspects of alcohol misuse. They talked me through the Alcohol Strategy highlighting Priorities and Actions which showed an impressive range of activities undertaken to analyse local needs and shape the delivery of local services.

They've explored the impact that alcohol misuse has on families, confirming that;

·  Children are drinking at much younger ages. We see that now with the amount of anti social behaviour that is associated to alcohol.

·  There are particular hazards for children living with dependent drinkers and a national figure shows alcohol misuse is a factor in 50% of child protection cases. I have seen this for myself with my experience of safeguarding children.

·  Alcohol abuse is a key factor in domestic violence situations and night time economy leading to injury and sometimes death. Having investigated these types of cases I have seen firsthand the devastation caused to families.

The ladies also examined the impact of alcohol misuse on the community describing the prevalence of violent assaults, drink driving cases and fire incidents. Also the issues that impact on the local economy such as absenteeism, unemployment and premature death.

This work led to the development of a strong foundation of partnership working including commissioning a number of new services, improved data exchange, and proactive police and City Council Licensing activities, all of which serve to make Wolverhampton a safer place.

The briefest look at media reports shows that:                                          

·  Drink driving is on the increase - ITV.com

·  Young people are binge drinking to excess - Metro

·  Steps are being taken to reduce associated yob violence - Wolverhampton Express & Star

My time with these ladies was time extremely well spent because I have an even clearer picture of how alcohol misuse can impact on all aspect of society and how it can be visible in your communities.

It's not hard to see that alcohol abuse permeates through many different facets of family and social life. The approach to this issue cannot be a short term or quick hits for headline news but a consolidation of partners across the West Midlands all working towards one aim which is protecting the public from harm.  

One of my pledges is to ‘tackle violent crime, abuse and hate crimes head on, to help make your local communities safer’. I go on to say, ‘Violent crime can range from gang violence to incidents of assault with or without weapons through to domestic assault. Almost half the incidents of violent crime are associated with alcohol which can be tackled by robust partnership work with many organisations including the Wellbeing Boards, Primary Care Trust’s, Education and licensed premises as well as off licences’. 

All of this is still valid but in line with my pledge of ‘listening and using your experience and knowledge’ I can see that so much more is required. I want to give you a lasting legacy rather than short term goals. If you support this view then vote for me as your first PCC.

I know that a lot of families are touched by this issue so let’s have your comments, Over this weekend 18/19th August send comments into my website, twitter or facebook and let me know how you want this problem addressed.   

TTFN Cath




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Police and Crime Commissioner, PCC, putting people first, West Midlands, Cath Hannon, Cath, Hannon, female, woman