Read the full research.


The Government estimates that alcohol misuse costs the criminal justice system £11bn every year, though this is liable to be lower than the actual cost. People with alcohol problems emerging from the criminal justice system may also place a burden on other health, housing and social care services.

Alcohol Concern, which recently merged with Alcohol Research UK, has created the Blue Light project, a national initiative to develop alternative approaches and care pathways for dependent drinkers. Through our work on the Blue Light project, we have found that many local authorities, police forces and housing providers are struggling to apply anti-social behaviour legislation to people with chronic alcohol problems. The 2014 Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act offers a chance to address some of these challenges through the so-called ‘positive requirements’ in Criminal Behaviour Orders and Civil Injunctions. However, we have found that community safety and housing agencies are still struggling to make best use of these new orders.

This research explores whether better use could be made of these new powers in order to have a positive and constructive impact on alcohol-related crime and anti-social behaviour. It looks at the experiences of people involved in applying and delivering these orders, and seeks to capture both their practical experiences and their views on what their potential strengths might be. It is not an evaluation of the orders, nor does it present a comprehensive analysis of the role of ‘compelled treatment’ in reducing antisocial behaviour (there is a brief discussion of this debate in Appendix 1). Rather, it provides insights into how the powers are currently being applied, what challenges are being faced by those seeking to apply them, and what good practice examples are available.

Critically, the focus of this report is the role of these powers in reducing alcohol-related crime and disorder. We do not present definitive answers here, but rather set out what the key challenges are and what immediate steps might be taken to make the best, most effective, use of these powers in the future.