A voluntary ban on super-strength beers and ciders involving the majority of the big supermarkets has had a dramatic impact on reducing problems with binge drinkers, according to a new report.

Six months ago retailers in Ipswich including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, The Co-operative Group, Waitrose and Aldi stripped their shelves of beer and cider products above 6.5% that were being sold at cheap prices. The scheme was spearheaded by Suffolk Police.

This week an update on the progress of the plan claimed there had been a “stark reduction” in the number of times members of the public have called the police to report incidents of street drinking.

It said 94 ‘street drinker events’ were reported to police in the six months from the launch of the campaign (September 2012-March 2013), compared with 191 events in the same period the year before – a fall of 49.2%.

The town has also seen a 14% fall in the number of reported incidents of crime and anti-social behaviour.

“The support we have received from independent and national retailers has been fantastic, and we have found that many have shared our views that removing these products will have a beneficial effect on our communities, “ said assistant chief constable Tim Newcomb.

“There are still a third of these stores in Ipswich that are continuing to sell these items however, and we will now work with these businesses, along with our partners, to further discuss the benefits of the campaign.”

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