Accessibility Options

Tackling alcohol misuse through education

PEOPLE caught behaving drunk and disorderly on the county’s streets now have the option of undertaking a course designed to confront the implications of their actions and change their behaviour rather than face a £90 fine.

The three-hour-long course – which still carries a £45 fee – will be offered to people as an alternate to a Penalty Notice for Disorder for an alcohol-related offence which carries a larger fine. Staff from DrinkSense will challenge current behaviour and teach participants the potential long-term damage alcohol can have on their health, in particular binge- drinking, in a bid to encourage greater responsibility and change future behaviour.

This new Alcohol Diversion Scheme has been set with funding from Cambridgeshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Sir Graham Bright as part of his commitment to tackle alcohol-related incidents in the county.

“I am not against people enjoying themselves responsibly and safely, but drinking so much that you put yourself or others at risk of harm and become a drain on services, and the public purse which funds them, is no fun for anybody,” said Sir Graham.

“The diversion scheme will help people understand the harm that excessive drinking can have on them, and people nearby, and encourage them to change their behaviour in the future.  This should in turn reduce the number of alcohol-related incidents in our city and town centres which is good news for everyone,” he added.

In 2012/13, Cambridgeshire Constabulary issued 294 Penalty Notices for Disorder relating to alcohol.  The scheme, which is being run for the Constabulary by DrinkSense, is similar to a speed awareness course.  Anyone caught committing an alcohol-related offence will be offered the choice of the Penalty Notice for Disorder and the associated £90 fine, or to pay £45 to DrinkSense to attend the course.

Assistant Chief Constable, Mark Hopkins, said:  “The consequences of people drinking alcohol to excess are not just felt by police officers and staff, but by colleagues across the public sector.  The Ambulance Service and even staff in the Accident and Emergency Departments regularly deal with the aftermath of people drinking too much.  This diverts their time and energy away from caring for other people.  In the long-term I am hopeful this scheme will reduce the demand on all the emergency services.”

DrinkSense will be running Alcohol Diversion workshops in four sites across the county: Peterborough City, Cambridge City, Huntingdon, and Wisbech.  The Scheme supports the principles of the Government Harm Reduction Alcohol Strategy 2012. The scheme represents good value for money as, aside from the initial set up costs, the courses are funded by the participants.

Christine Greer, CEO at DrinkSense, added “This new partnership project is an opportunity for anyone receiving a penalty notice linked to alcohol-related behaviour to ensure this early warning is taken seriously.  We know a small change to drinking (at this stage) can reduce the risks of further trouble. Regardless of the reason for the penalty there is a solution and the course will share ways to make those changes.  DrinkSense has a long-standing trusted relationship within the community and we hope this will encourage anyone with a penalty notice to attend or at least discuss this with us.”


Notes to editors

Media enquiries to:

Charles Kitchin – Director of Public Engagement & Communications
Director of Public Engagement & Communications
Tel DD: 01954 713906
Mobile: 07809 332291


About The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner

Sir Graham Bright is the Police and Crime Commissioner for Cambridgeshire.

Police and Crime Commissioners have responsibility for delivering an efficient and effective police service in their area.  Commissioners set police and crime objectives, the police budget and issue crime and disorder reduction grants through the Police and Crime Plan. Commissioners also hold the police to account, making them answerable to the public.

Further details can be found on the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner website.


About DrinkSense

Drinksense was established in 1981 to reduce the harm caused to individuals, families and communities by alcohol misuse or other substances.  Their work with young people and many years’ experience has developed into new areas of work, including emotional wellbeing and other young people needs.