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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 January 2008, 15:36 GMT
No 'quick fix' to end 'yob rule'
Youth drinking
Mr Fahy said there was a huge drinking culture in the UK
Cheshire's police chief has said that enforcement alone is not enough to tackle the problem of alcohol-related violence in youngsters.

Peter Fahy's comments come after three teenagers were convicted of murdering Garry Newlove, who was kicked to death outside his Warrington home in August.

He said more officers than ever were tackling the problem but it was not simply a problem of policing.

Cheap alcohol, bad parenting and a huge drinking culture were also to blame.

Unless we deal with it at source we are putting a sticking plaster on it
Chief constable Peter Fahy

Mr Newlove's widow Helen called on the chief constable to act to cut the violence.

"We can all sit here and we can all say what went wrong but words are cheap, it's action that we want," she said.

Mr Fahy said police had been cracking down on the problem but it was a complex issue.

"We agonise every time there is this sort of incident thinking could we have done more.

"I was actually out in Warrington on patrol on the night of Garry Newlove's murder in a different part of Warrington and saw the number of officers we had out on the street trying to control the alcohol problem.

"We've had lots of officers out there, we seize alcohol from underage youngsters, we take them home.

"It is having an effect, the anti-social behaviour is coming down.

But Mr Fahy said there was no "quick fix".

"You need to try to put resources for better parenting, better education and better support but you might only see the benefit of that in 10 years.

"Youth crime is coming down but clearly it is still unacceptably too high.

"We should not have a situation when law abiding citizens feel they can't go out and challenge those behaving badly that's when the yobs rule the streets.

Adam Swellings (left), Stephen Sorton and Jordan Cunliffe
The offenders had drunk "vast amounts" of alcohol

"But unless we deal with it at source we are putting a sticking plaster on it."

The chief constable said police felt they were working against an alcohol-fuelled culture the whole time, and as a result shifts were being moved later and later into the night.

"A huge proportion of police activity that is now spent trying to deal with the huge problems caused by alcohol misuse.

"But it's also trying to solve the problem long term.

"To try and stop shops from selling alcohol to underage children and trying to deal with the poor parenting which is creating this problem."

"If we don't also deal with the issue of alcohol misuse and poor parenting then we are swimming against the tide."

Mr Fahy has also previously campaigned for tougher legal sanctions to force parents to stop their underage children drinking and for the legal drinking age to be raised to 21.

'Against tide'

Doctors campaigning against excessive drinking also claim there is a clear link between price and consumption.

Professor Ian Gilmore of the Royal College of Physicians said: "Alcohol is a drug. It is not an ordinary commodity.

"It happens to be legal. But we don't think it can be treated like soap powder, used to bring people into their stores.

"We don't think the supermarkets should be using discounts and sales promotions encouraging you to buy more and drink more."

The Cheshire chief constable agrees: "We've been talking to government about how alcohol is promoted very heavily and cheaply in supermarkets - some are selling at below cost.

"The number of people who think they have to get drunk - and the youngsters in this Newlove case had drunk vast amounts of alcohol - is ridiculous.

"People who are perfectly rational when they are sober become violent - and sadly the prison system is full of young lads like that."



SEE ALSO
Call for probe into bailed killer
17 Jan 08 |  Merseyside
Three convicted of Newlove murder
16 Jan 08 |  Merseyside
'I hit Newlove first', pair claim
10 Dec 07 |  Merseyside
Mother tells of son's confession
06 Dec 07 |  Merseyside
Gang 'all joined in the kicking'
21 Nov 07 |  Merseyside

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