Police chief blasts cheap alcohol

09 June, 2008

Nottinghamshire chief constable Steve Green has become the latest high-profile police officer to attack retailers over cheap alcohol.

Speaking to the BBC, Green said alcohol should be sold behind the counter and not “stacked high and sold as cheap as water”. He accused the drinks industry of being the “problem child” in the battle to reduce excess drinking, particularly among young people.

Nottingham is considered a binge drinking hotspot in the UK.

Green's comments are the latest in a series of attacks on retail alcohol prices, currently part of a wide-ranging government review on the UK’s drinking culture.

Last week, Conservative MP Patrick Mercer used a Home Affairs Select Committee Hearing to label Tesco “immoral” for selling alcohol below cost.

Calls by some for minimum prices on alcoholic drinks are considered unrealistic by senior legal and economics experts advising the Office of Fair Trading, however.

A spokesperson for drinks industry watchdog the Portman Group told OLN recently that the “industry has done a lot in recent years to raise standards”. But he added that “anyone selling alcohol should take that as a privilege not a right”.

Ministers last week launched the Youth Alcohol Action Plan in a bid to communicate the dangers of excess drinking to young people. It also proposed tougher sanctions for those repeatedly found to possess alcohol in parks and other public spaces.

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