Police chief backs drunk tank idea18th September, 2013 by Andy Young
The head of Northamptonshire Police has said that privately-run drunk tanks should be used to tackle alcohol-fuelled disorder.
Chief constable Adrian Lee, who is the national policing lead on alcohol harm, said drunk individuals should be put in cells run by commercial companies and then charged for their care the morning after. Lee said it should not be the responsibility of the police to look after people who require medical treatment because of excessive drinking.
Lee said: “I do not see why the police service or the health service should pick up the duty of care for someone who has chosen to go out and get so drunk that they cannot look after themselves.
“So why don’t we take them to a drunk cell owned by a commercial company and get the commercial company to look after them during the night until they are sober?
“When that is over we will issue them with a fixed penalty and the company will be able to charge them for their care, which would be at quite significant cost and that might be a significant deterrent.”
Launching a campaign aimed at highlighting alcohol harm, Lee continued: “We are not the experts on health. It is quite difficult to work out where the best place to put a drunk is. Is it a police station, or do they need to be at a hospital?
“It is a big demand on police but also not the best way of looking after the specific complex duty of care where there is a health demand.
“Accident and emergency departments are under huge pressure nationally, particularly on a Friday and Saturday nights.
“Why should we have drunks clogging up the A&E, causing further problems potentially? Why not put them somewhere safe where you could have private medical staff on hand?”
Lee’s comments mirror those of Humberside police and crime commissioner, Matthew Grove, who recently mentioned the idea in an interview with trade journal Police Professional.