Alcohol profile praised

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COUNCILLORS have welcomed the recent publication of the Scottish Borders Alcohol Profile, stating that its findings will help decision-making on a range of issues, writes Adam Drummond.

Report authors Susan Walker and Erin Murray, along with Inspector John Scott of Lothian and Borders Police, attended last week’s full council meeting to highlight the report to members.

Ms Walker said that the council’s licensing board had already requested that the report be repeated again next year due to its success.

Councillor Michelle Ballantyne, convenor of the council’s licensing forum, said: “This was a tremendous piece of work, and it is the first time anything like this has been done in the Borders. In fact, it is one of the best quality ones done in Scotland.”

Councillor Willie Archibald also highlighted the usefulness of the in-depth report’s findings.He said: “A well informed licensing board will make wise decisions.”

Taking evidence from frontline services, the report highlighted that drink was involved in over a fifth of all anti-social behaviour incidents dealt with by police.

It also showed there were 513 alcohol-related attendances at the Borders General Hospital emergency department between June and October last year.

The council’s representative on the NHS Borders board, Councillor Catriona Bhatia, said that the statistics could be used to drive preventative and re-education work surrounding alcohol misuse, which in turn could lead to a reduction in hospital admissions.