A draft Alcohol and Licensing strategy has been published, for comment, by the Council of Ministers.
The draft strategy sets out the Council’s overarching policy and strategic objectives in relation to alcohol, the actions that will be taken to deliver those objectives and proposals for the introduction of new fit-for-purpose licensing law.
The strategy sets out a range of proposed actions, which are of equal importance and designed to work together to help tackle the challenges that alcohol brings without negatively impacting those who drink sensibly or the licensed trade. These include:
• a focus on education and improving public awareness of the effects of alcohol
• an improved licensing system, including new licence categories and introduction of personal licences in addition to licences for premises
• increased powers for police to close licenced premises in order to prevent crime and disorder
• a review of opening hours
• a review of drink driving limits
• a review of price of alcohol including drinks promotions.
Assistant Chief Minister, Paul Routier, said: “For many people alcohol is simply an enjoyable, well-managed part of their lifestyle but for others it is a very real problem; whether that is because they drink too much or because they suffer as a result of other people drinking too much.
“The strategy aims to strike a balance between protecting people from harm while avoiding unnecessary restrictions on alcohol provision. It is a joint approach that recognises that matters relating to alcohol cut across the States of Jersey’s departmental boundaries.”
Economic Development Minister Senator Alan Maclean said that the cross-departmental approach must recognise the need to support businesses with an equitable and transparent licensing system which was balanced by the need to reduce the harm caused by alcohol misuse.
“We need to develop a licensing regime that allows the Island’s restaurants, bars and clubs to flourish and play a key role in our economy and Island life,” said Senator Maclean.
Issues relating to alcohol are also the responsibility of other Ministries, including:
• Health and Social Services for public health approaches to preventing alcohol-related harm and the provision of treatment and care to islanders with ill health caused by alcohol, and alcohol dependence
• Home Affairs for the police and fire services that support the safety of Islanders
• the Chief Minister’s Department for broader social policy.
Minister for Health and Social Services Deputy Anne Pryke said: “We have known for some time that alcohol consumption in Jersey is high when compared to other countries. Promoting personal responsibility for sensible drinking is one approach to reducing harm caused by alcohol, but evidence shows that, alone, this is not enough.
I welcome our Chief Minister’s commitment to an approach which prevents and tackles harm and fosters a culture where sensible drinking is increasingly seen as the norm within a well-informed, responsible, caring society.”
The draft strategy is available for comment from 8 January 2014 until 24 March 2014 on www.gov.je/consult. Economic Development Department are holding briefing meetings for existing and potential future licence holders, details of which are also available on-line.