Plans announced today to tag offenders with alcohol monitors to stop them drinking, will do nothing to solve the long term issues of problem drinkers, says UKIP’s new Health spokesman, Louise Bours.
From next year, courts in four London boroughs will be able to impose an alcohol abstinence order on those who offend whilst drunk involving the criminal being tagged with an alcohol monitoring device to check if they comply. Failure can lead to a prison sentence.
The aim of the pilot scheme is to reduce the costs and harm caused by excess drinking – a Home Office study has estimated that about one million violent crimes a year in England and Wales are linked to alcohol.
North West MEP Ms Bours, said: “Whilst an order to stop drinking may be a good idea in the short term, in order to prevent further problem drinking and the damage it causes to families and the economy, it should be accompanied by a treatment regime to solve the long term drink problem many offenders have.
“If the government are serious about dealing with the health and social problems of excessive drinking why has spending on rehabilitation for young people with alcohol and drug problems been cut by a quarter, on average, and in some places halved, since 2011?
“Cutting funding for these services does not save the country money, it cost the country a great deal further down the line, with the NHS having to pick up the bill for admissions to A and E and the treatment of liver failure and other alcohol related illnesses.”
Towards the end of last year a Public Accounts Committee report on ‘early action’ concluded that across government there is lack of leadership, budget, incentives, evidence and joint working.
Ms Bours added: “By cutting rehab and treatment services we are doing no one any favours, it leaves families of problem drinkers devastated, increases the number of victims of crime and costs the tax payer an awful lot more in the long run.”