Drunks could be handed over to a private company until they are sober enough to speak to the police, Northamptonshire’s Chief Constable has said.
Chief Constable Adrian Lee has suggested the idea of a private firm taking care of the town’s heavy drinkers to free up police resources.
He said: “I would like to know what the public think about having a private company look after people until they’re sober in the morning, at which point they will be billed for the privilege.
“We use a lot of police resources dealing with alcohol related incidents and that has a big impact. Why should the public have to pick up that cost?
“We would like people to tell us what they think of this idea on Facebook and Twitter and by writing in to the Chronicle and Echo.”
Mr Lee said nationally, 50 per cent of all violent crimes are alcohol related and 73 per cent of domestic abuse incidents site alcohol as a factor.
Across the country, the police spend £11 billion on alcohol related crime.
To highlight the issue, Northamptonshire Police will hold an alcohol awareness week from September 16 to 23 to coincide with Freshers’ Week.
Mr Lee said: “I don’t think people realise the impact this type of crime has on police resources.
“We’re not anti-alcohol and recognise it can be a positive thing in the community and a means of socialising, but a lot of people ‘pre-load’, meaning they’re very drunk before they go out.
“I was outside the Roadmender at 4am recently speaking to students and though there was a very positive atmosphere everyone had been drinking before they went out and some of them had already had too much.”
The police will also step up their town centre presence in special operations working with the University of Northampton to provide ‘pass cards’ for use as ID in place of passports. They will also ask the county’s senior schools to come up with ideas to address the harm caused by alcohol related crime.
The force’s mobile custody unit will also be in All Saints Square on Friday and Saturday evening.
Mr Lee said: “Having a unit in the town centre makes everything more efficient because officers are able to get back out on the streets faster.”