Public health in Newcastle has made representations as part of the licensing process both in the primary care trust and the City Council.
Newcastle upon Tyne is a city within the county of Tyne and Wear, covering an area of 112 km squared and with a population of approximately 279,000. It is estimated that in excess of 100,000 people use the pubs, clubs and restaurants at weekends. Every year around 19.2 million people visit Newcastle and Gateshead, spending approximately £346 million on food and drink. This activity supports over 7,000 jobs. However, the excessive consumption of alcohol also has a significant economic impact across the services and population of Newcastle.
While crime in general continues to decrease, Newcastle as with many other areas has continued to see a rise in the proportion of total crime that is related to alcohol. For over 50% of offenders in Newcastle, alcohol has been identified as being the reason for their criminal behaviour. 87% of these offenders admitted to engaging in binge drinking and 80% had engaged in violent behaviour linked to their alcohol consumption. Over half of domestic violence assaults and up to 38% of initial child protection cases are related to alcohol. Newcastle is in the bottom 10% of local authority areas for male alcohol specific mortality, male mortality from chronic liver disease and alcohol specific hospital admissions.
Case in brief
A member of the public health weam was seconded to the licensing department for 3 days a week to support the review of the Statement of Licensing Policy (SLP).
The approach used
The secondment provided extra capacity to carry out a review which included gathering a range of alcohol harm data from responsible authorities. For the first time, the review also looked at the numbers of premises with licences for alcohol and late night refreshments in different geographical areas. This triangulation of data helped determine which areas had high numbers of outlets and alcohol related harm. There was also an extensive consultation with the public, to find out their thoughts about the impact of premises selling alcohol in their area, which received nearly 200 responses.
Data was gathered for:
- alcohol related crime, violence and anti-social behaviour
- domestic violence
- child protection notifications
- domestic fires
- hospital admissions
- ambulance pickups
A&E attendances for assaults
The SLP was reviewed and 5 new cumulative impact policy areas were introduced for off-licences and premises offering late night refreshment.