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Reducing the Strength campaign shortlisted for top award

Published15th January 2015

An Ipswich campaign to reduce crime and support street drinkers has been shortlisted for a national award.

Reducing the Strength was launched in 2012 by Ipswich Borough Council, the Police, Suffolk County Council and the NHS. The East of England Co-operative Society joined the partnership soon afterwards and cleared super-strength alcoholic drinks from its own shelves.

The campaign's simple theme of encouraging retailers not to stock very strong lagers, beers and ciders has been so successful in cutting anti-social behaviour associated with street drinking that 80 other schemes across the county have followed Ipswich's lead.

Now, the Borough Council's pioneering role has been recognised by the LGC and its work has been shortlisted in the 2015 Awards Innovation category, with the overall winner to be announced in March.

Councillor Neil MacDonald, the Borough's Safer Ipswich portfolio-holder, said: "Our partnership set up Reducing the Strength to tackle some of the problems around street drinking in the town and we have enjoyed a lot of success, with associated anti-social behaviour falling by almost three quarters over the past two years. In addition, local businesses and residents have also reported a big drop in incidents they have witnessed in their communities. Our campaign has also attracted support from other councils and police forces, who have now set up their own schemes. We have had fantastic support from the media and we have been proud to host a national conference on the campaign."