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North East police forces crack down on drink-driving

North East police forces have launched their Christmas campaign to try to prevent drivers from drinking alcohol before getting behind the wheel.

Police will be doing extra breath tests to catch drivers who have had too much Credit: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

More officers will be stopping drivers for breath tests across the force areas. Police are also issuing a warning to people not to be tempted to drink and drive over the festive season, saying anyone who does is risking their own life and others.

The campaign will last until the New Year.

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Late-night levy on alcohol to be introduced

Premises selling booze in Newcastle between midnight and 6am will be subject to the UK's first late-night levy.

It means they will have to pay between £299 and £4,400 annually.

The money will be split between the council - who will get 30% - and the police who will get the remainder of the money.

The revenue will be used to address crime and disorder, public safety, public nuisance and street cleaning relating to alcohol supply.

"Newcastle's night time economy has a worldwide reputation and makes significant contribution to the prosperity of the city.

"However, it also has less welcome consequences - noise, crime, anti-social behaviour and negative health impacts.

"The levy will ensure that businesses which benefit from the late-night economy make a limited contribution to these costs which will help the city remain as one of the safest in the country and attractive to investors and visitors."

– Linda Hobson, deputy cabinet member for community safety and regulation, Newcastle City Council

Alcohol a key factor in pedestrian road deaths

More pedestrians are killed or injured on roads in Newcastle than anywhere else in the North East and alcohol is one of the major factors.

The findings come from the education group Road Safety GB, which has launched a new campaign to reduce casualties.

"Check Out Before You Step Out" was launched at Newcastle Sixth Form College to target one of the most at-risk categories, those aged 16 - 24.

Drinking alcohol, being distracted by friends or technology and not paying attention contribute strongly to young people being killed or injured on roads.

More than 3,000 adults have been involved in pedestrian accidents in the North East over the last five years. Almost a quarter happened in Newcastle.

Alan Kennedy, Chairman of Road Safety GB, explains the problem:

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Newcastle University calls for new alcohol guidance for older people

Alcohol interventions are not working for older people for many reasons. A lot of those we interviewed said the messages around alcohol were very confusing.

There is a need to develop new approaches to target the older population, for example longer in-home support, tailored information on the risks from alcohol in later life, or health workers with specific training on older people’s needs.

We also think the Government really needs to start looking at lowering the recommended limit for alcohol consumption in those over 65.

– Dr Katie Haighton, Institute of Health and Society, Newcastle University

Age UK reacts to alcohol research

We support the call for clearer guidance and information to be made available in order for Older People to make informed choices about how much Alcohol they consume. Most of the people that approach us are not clear how the body reacts to alcohol as we get older or effects when combined with prescribed medications. GPs sometimes don't explain in detail some of these effects.

This research also shows it is important to have a range of social activities available for older people to alleviate social isolation and as additional support following bereavement or illness.We need to address the social as well as the medical issues this research highlights

– John Briers, Chief Executive of Age UK, South Tyneside
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