Course on offer to problem drinkers

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PEOPLE fined for drunk and disorderly behaviour in Kirklees may be offered the opportunity to halve their fines by attending an alcohol awareness course.

The offence normally carries a £80 fine, but this could be reduced to £40 if recipients agree to attend a new course.

The scheme is a partnership involving Kirklees Council, West Yorkshire Police and Lifeline, a drug and alcohol treatment service, among others.

It is a similar scheme to the speed awareness course run by Kirklees Council which educates drivers caught speeding.

Alcohol awareness courses have already been hailed a success by a number of other police forces including Derbyshire, Hertfordshire, South Wales, Hampshire, Kent and Devon & Cornwall. They have found that only 20 per cent of people attending the courses re-offend.

People receiving the penalty notices would be referred to the alcohol awareness course through the police.

The course will cover topics such as the impact alcohol has on personal health, emergency services, hospitals and the economy. It will take place every six weeks and there will be 20 places available on each, with the first course taking place this month.

Acting Inspector Andrew Lockwood, from West Yorkshire Police said: “Following on from the success of the juvenile alcohol referral scheme we are now offering this new course to adults who have been arrested for drunk and disorderly behaviour and minor alcohol-related offences.

“This is a much harder hitting session to educate and raise awareness of their own alcohol related behaviour and how that could impact on their life, the effect on others such as their relationships and children, as well as diverting the participants from coming back to the police’s attention, or that of other emergency services.”

Funds raised by the course will be donated to local alcohol related charities and causes.