19 January 2017
North Down MLA Alex Easton has welcomed support for a joint strategy between the Department of Justice and the Department of Health to combat the scourge of alcohol related crime in society.
On Monday the Assembly debated the issue and called on both Ministers to recognise the proven link between crime and the overconsumption of alcohol.
Mr Easton said, “This is an issue which affects our society, health service, our justice system and the economy. It is a highly important topic and the importance of a joint strategy is critical to our society as a whole.
To the criminal justice system alone alcohol abuse is thought to cost up to £340 million, while £150 million is incurred by health treatments and the economy is hit with £900 million due to overconsumption of alcohol.
Alcohol can have devastating impacts with one third of domestic violence taking place as a result of drinking. There is a clear link between the overconsumption of alcohol and crime. While there is cooperation between the Department of Health and the Department of Justice, a joint approach could have greater impact to overcome this scourge on our society.
We need to find a better way of reducing the cost of this issue and to deal the effects it has on our communities, health and justice systems. Unfortunately due to Sinn Fein's actions in walking away from Stormont, the progress made so far will mean delays on implementation. However, I welcome the support for this motion and look forward to seeing this issues tackled in the future.”