Yesterday, Adrian Lee, the chief constable of Northamptonshire and the Association of Chief Police Officers’ lead on tackling alcohol problems, 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.”
It is estimated that it costs between £300 and £400 a night to hold someone in a police cell – more than a night in the Ritz hotel – while police can issue a fine of up to £80 for an offence of drunk and disorderly.
Erm, because that would be a penalty for having been drunk? A penalty which should properly only be applied by a court, or at the very least with the possibility of appeal to one?
The police do recall that they are the police, not judge and jury, do they?
There is another angle to it as well. Being so drunk is of course a health care matter. That’s why you need to be taken care of, for your health. And we all already pay taxes to be taken care of for our health by the NHS. This would be rather a breach in the idea of treatment free at the point of need, wouldn’t it?