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22 May 2013, 12:23
8 in 10 police officers in the North East are being subjected to an alcohol-related assault during their career.
One in five officers in our region are being assaulted six or more times.
The latest perception findings from Balance, the North East Alcohol Office, also reveal that new recruits are warned that they will probably be the victim of an alcohol-related assault before the end of their first year in the force.
The findings are part of a new Balance report, The Impact of Alcohol on Policing in the North East, which surveyed 1,100 frontline officers across the North East's three forces - Cleveland, Durham and Northumbria - to further understand alcohol's impact on the frontline and to gain their perceptions on the issue.
The report also revealed that:
* 97% feel at risk of physical assault when policing the night time economy.
* Almost 9 in 10 officers believe cheap alcohol contributes to alcohol-related crime and disorder.
* A majority of officers (6 in 10) said alcohol related crime and disorder takes up at least half of their time while 1 in 10 say it constitutes 80 -100% of their workload.
* On a weekend evening shift nearly every single person being dealt with or arrested is intoxicated through alcohol misuse.
* Officers often have to deal with alcohol related anti-social behaviour from children as young as eleven years old.
During 2010/11 more than £316m was spent dealing with an estimated 213,000 alcohol related crimes.
This equates to £75.1m in Durham, £81.8m in Cleveland and £159.6m in Northumbria force areas.
In England and Wales alcohol misuse contributed to a cost of £7.6bn for crime and licensing.
Sergeant Tim Robson, from Durham Constabulary's Alcohol Harm Reduction Unit told Capital:
"I've been punched numerous times and certainly been spat at many more times.
It is horrific and unfortunately it's one of the facts which occurs now with police officers and it's something police have been accustomed to.
It is shocking and it's a terrible state of affairs when we see very young people gaining access to alcohol."
Research carried out by the University of Sheffield indicates that after ten years, every year in England a minimum 50p per unit will: ?
* save 3,393 lives
* Reduce hospital admissions by 97,900
* Cut crimes by 45,800
* Cut unemployment by 27,100
* Save 296,900 working days lost through absenteeism
* Reduce the amount younger and heavier drinkers consume.
It estimates that moderate drinkers could be expected to pay just 28p a week extra on their weekly alcohol bill for these benefits, if a minimum 50p per unit were introduced.
Moderate drinkers stay within the recommended daily limits of no more than 2-3 units, or a standard glass of wine, for a woman and 3-4 units, or a pint and a half of regular strength beer, for a man.
Drinking at or above these limits on a daily, or almost daily basis, increases the risk of a range of health conditions including cancer and stroke