OUTREACH workers will join police on patrol in Colchester in the latest bid to prevent alcohol related crime.

Colchester Police launched the Reduce the Strength campaign nine months ago.

The initiative is an attempt to get super strength lager, beer and cider - above 6.5 per cent - off the shelves of Colchester’s shops.

It is being supported by Police and Crime Commissioner Nick Alston with £3,610 funding, plus Colchester Council and the Community Safety Partnership.

The money is being used to promote the campaign with plaques for existing stores, a public event in July and information booklets.

It is hoped it will limit dangerous drinking practices, street drinking and night time violence.

From as early as next week, outreach workers from Colchester’s Open Road drug and alcohol rehabilitation charity will support officers on routine patrols to offer help to people who need it.

PC Mike Lee, of Colchester Police, said: “They will be going out to people drinking in the street.

“It will be a case of us going to them rather than them going to organisations for help.”

The patrols will happen at any time of day and will typically involve one Police Community Support Officer and one outreach worker, likely to be a volunteer.

Anyone they approach believed to be in need of support will be offered an appointment at Open Road at a later date, or offered a visit to its Queen Street base immediately to talk to someone.

Written information about the people will be taken by the patrolling police too.

PC Lee said: “It is different and it is taking the service to them.”

Forty per cent of retailers in Colchester are now involved in the Reduce the Strength including big names Tesco, Marks and Spencer, Budgens and the Co-operative.

See Friday's Gazette