MacAskill speaks at summit on drink-related violence

Image caption,
The conference addressed the problem of alcohol-related violence within local communities

The problems of alcohol-related violence in local communities have been discussed at a special conference.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill addressed the gathering held in Midlothian.

The event was organised by newly-formed group, the Midlothian and East Lothian Drug and Alcohol Partnership (MELDAP).

Lothian and Borders Police said alcohol-related violence accounted for a high proportion of calls made to them.

Other speakers include representatives from Lothian and Borders Police, the National Violence Reduction Unit, NHS Lothian, the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, Midlothian and East Lothian Councils, and Young Scot.

Speaking ahead of the conference, Supt Phil O'Kane said: "The consequences of alcohol abuse within our communities is significant, and agencies have a duty to work together to address these problems for the benefit of all those who live and work in east and Midlothian."

Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill said: "Everyone in Scotland should be able to live free from the fear of violence, and violent crime is now at its lowest level since 1984.

"However, alcohol-related violence continues to be an issue of real concern.

"Our communities in the Lothians and Borders and around Scotland are fed up of it, and this government is doing all it can to stamp it out.

"It won't happen overnight, but locally driven initiatives, such as this, that bring the police and our community leaders together are clearly the way forward."

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