Reducing harm caused by alcohol

Special Constable Steve Devine

Alcohol has a major impact on the day to day work of Special Constable Steve Devine, Police Scotland.

 SC Steve Devine

What we find is that we typically have a lot of calls whereby the use of alcohol leads to people putting themselves in very vulnerable states which they wouldn’t normally be in or it causes them to act aggressively towards other members of the public, thus putting them in a vulnerable state.                                                 

The number of examples I've got are countless. I’ve seen a 15 year old who was drunk at a family party who then ran off and climbed up onto the roof of a nearby building and threatened to throw himself off. We had to talk him down from that and he ended up fighting with us when we tried to take him to a place of safety.

I’ve seen people who have been incapable of looking after themselves outside nightclubs – perfectly respectable people who would never get in any trouble with the police at all – over-indulge in alcohol and they end up falling out with people, fighting with members of the public or fighting with police which then has a massive knock on effect for their normal, day to day working lives.

If they’ve been a victim of assault, robbery, or theft, any one of a number of crimes; alcohol complicates things.

You might have a situation where someone has been the victim of a serious assault or robbery and we obviously need to get details from them as quickly as possible so we can track down the people responsible but they’re not able to give the information.

A lot of the time they’re not even able to give a full statement so not only are they putting themselves in a position of vulnerability, it’s also causing the police massive issues in tracing and dealing with offenders. It gives them another opportunity to offend as well.