SOUTHEND has been named one of 20 new local alcohol action areas to combat drink-fuelled crime and disorder and the damage caused to people’s health.

The Government has launched the scheme across England and Wales to tackle the harmful effects of excessive drinking.

It is reported alcohol-related crime and disorder costs an estimated £11billion per year and the Government wants to support local communities in reducing the scenes of drunkenness and violence that blight communities.

Each action area will receive support and expertise from the Home Office, the Department of Health, and Public Health England. They will work with mentor areas that have successfully tackled the same issues faced by alcohol action areas. The project will run until March 2015.

Local agencies, including licensing authorities, health bodies and the police will work in partnership with businesses and other organisations to address the problems.

Haroon Siddique, a GP at Southend Medical Centre, said: “I think in general practice, we tend to see more of the longer-term consequences of alcohol abuse while accident and emergency will see the more acute, short-term effects.

“With A&E already under so much stress, anything that will help reduce this will be good.”