VIOLENCE and disorder in Inverclyde related to alcohol are of the ‘utmost concern to the police, the Chief Constable says.

Philip Gormley, pictured, told Inverclyde Licensing Board that much of it occurs within people’s homes.

He said admissions to Inverclyde Royal Hospital for alcohol and drug-related matters are significantly higher than the national average, with drug-related admissions being more than double that average.

A discussion on the area’s drinking culture saw Provost Robert Moran insist that licensed premises were not to blame for the problem.

He said: “We know there is a problem, but it’s probably people sitting at home drinking vast amounts of alcohol.”

Chief Constable Gormley says his force are determined to tackle the ‘difficult issue’ with a mixture of tactics.

He said: “Police Scotland will continue to support visible and preventative policing, focussing on reassurance through intervention and tackling re-offending.”

There are 209 licensed premises in Inverclyde – 74 for off-sales, 80 on-sales and 55 for both.

Mr Gormley said: “Due to the accessibility and affordability of alcohol, it continues to be a principal factor in many of the incidents reported to the police.

“Its misuse is a contributor when dealing with anti-social behaviour, violence and disorder, domestic abuse and child protection.”

He said there are three levels for categorising licensed premises that come to the police’s attention.

Under the first, ‘monitored’ premises are given extra support and supervision.

A second level sees the force able to directly intervene with formal agreements to improve the safe operation of a premises.

When places which sell drink are identified as ‘problematic’, they will normally be the subject of a licence review.

Figures for the period from April 1 2015 to March 31 this year show there were three monitored premises in Inverclyde which were inspected regularly.

There were no premises deemed problematic or where intervention was required by police.