28.1 Ms Devine confirmed that the ‘Reducing the Strength’ campaign in 2012 had been significant as many premises had voluntarily agreed to remove super strength alcohol from sale, however, due to a high turnover, the new premises licence holders would not be bound to honour the voluntary arrangement.
28.2 Ms Devine reported that of the 153 premises licences in place in 2016, 15 had been closed and the licences surrendered, 46 had a condition on the licence that prevented the sale of super strength beers, lagers and ciders, 40 premises had removed these voluntarily and one premise had been issued with a Community Protection Notice.
28.3 Since 2016, 8 premises licences had been issued to convenience stores for the sale of alcohol and of these 7 had been issued with the condition that prevented the sale of super strength alcohol. One store had no condition on the licence as alcohol sales only made up a small percentage of the overall sales. The Local Government Association produced guidance for councils that considered setting up a ‘Reducing the Strength’ scheme and a copy of this was attached as appendix A.
28.4 Ms Devine confirmed that of the 153 premises licences it was not known how many still had the voluntarily scheme in place.
28.5 Discussion took place around how new premise licences holders could be encouraged to sign up to the ‘Reducing the Strength’ scheme and how the scheme could be revived. It was noted that drinking habits had changed with a move towards premium or craft products, which had been excluded from the scheme as these were not associated with street drinking. Ms Devine confirmed that the ‘Reducing the Strength’ scheme was not written into the licence.
28.6 Councillor Vickery suggested that information outlining the objectives and benefits of the scheme be included in a pack that could be given to new premises licence holders.
28.7 Councillor Ross reported that large number of deaths and anti-social behaviour incidents had been linked to drugs rather than street drinking. It was confirmed that although many premises licence holders had voluntarily signed up when it had been launched, if the premises licence holder changed they would not be obligated to continue with the voluntary scheme. It was suggested that when a premises licence was issued that the updated paperwork be sent to the licence holder outlining the ‘Reducing the Strength’ scheme with a follow up phone call or visit to the premises.
28.8 Ms Devine confirmed that Rebecca Kidd-Stanton had been appointed as the new Licensing Inspector for Suffolk Constabulary and it was requested that Ms Kidd-Stanton be invited to attend the next Licensing and Regulatory Committee. It was agreed that the committee would provide questions to be put forward to the Inspector prior to the meeting.
Action: for Inspector Kidd-Stanton to be invited to the next Licensing and Regulatory Committee and for the committee to email Ms Devine questions that would be put forward to the Inspector prior to the meeting.
that the report be noted.