Alcohol Harm Reduction Partnership Goes Live in Norfolk
The Count Me Out Alcohol Harm Reduction Partnership has gone live in Norwich, Great Yarmouth and Kings Lynn and is the first scheme of its kind in the UK.
The scheme, which provides a platform for the exchange of information between licensed premises and other stakeholders in the night time economy is supported by the Norfolk Nightsafe partnership which aims to improve safety for customers and other people using the evening or night-time economy and assist in the prevention and detection of crime.
Count Me Out replaces the existing SIRCS-Nightsafe scheme set up in 2009 and is being operated on a new version of SIRCS. One major change with the scheme is to allow individuals to voluntarily self exclude themselves from Count Me Out members’ premises.
ECINS’ Gary Pettengell said ‘We have chosen to rename the scheme ‘Count Me Out’ as this will then cover both the exclusion and the new self exclusion elements of the scheme. This means if someone breaks one of the scheme rules they will effectively be saying; ‘Count me out’ and anyone who wishes not to be allowed into a members premises will be asking ‘Count me out’.
As with the existing scheme there are agreed rules around behaviour that customers are expected to abide by and if a customer breaks one of those rules they will be served with a ‘red banning card’ and excluded from all members’ premises within the district for 6 months.
Pettengell added “Enabling people to voluntarily ban themselves or self exclude presents a unique opportunity for those seeking help. This might be an underage person who is getting into trouble because of alcohol or it could be someone who has a problem with drink. Self Exclusion is a voluntary agreement that allows an individual to exclude themselves from all members’ premises for a period of at least 6 months. Self Exclusion could be used as part of an intervention programme and we are looking into it being used as part of the Conditional Caution process”.
Stephanie Butcher County Nightsafe Co ordinator said “This is a great scheme that enables those working within the night time economy to support each other in making a night out a safer experience for all, as well as supporting individuals who choose to exclude themselves in order to improve their quality of life.”
Inspector Edward Brown, who heads the Constabulary Licensing Team and is force lead for reducing drug and alcohol related harm in the night time economy, added “This scheme is primarily about licensees sharing information with each other but will also allow the police to share and receive information that is relevant to local business for the purposes of reducing crime and disorder. I’m fully supportive of this scheme and firmly believe that Great Yarmouth is the right place to make this work as there is already a strong network between the police, local authority and licensees”
Alcohol Self Exclusion Case Study:
Paul X aged 55 years was admitted to hospital for alcohol related issues. Paul was due for release from hospital and both he and his friends were concerned for his welfare once back in the community. Paul lived just a few hundred metres from two off licences and a supermarket making the purchase of alcohol very easy.
With his consent a friend of Paul’s contacted the Empowering-Communities’ Count Me Out (CMO) Team the day before he was released from hospital. The Alcohol Self Exclusion forms were completed and an image of Paul was sent to the CMO Team. This information was uploaded to SIRCS and the members notified of Paul’s Self Exclusion. The two off licences were not members of the partnership at the time but they were contacted and signed up straight away.
Paul was realised from hospital and is still under going treatment. To date he hasn’t breached his self exclusion but help is on hand if he does. His family and friends have agreed to notify the CMO Team if he starts to try and purchase alcohol from other outlets.