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A year on from its introduction, Glasgow’s alcohol court is to be extended. Currently, two sheriffs in the city deal with offenders convicted of offences where alcohol abuse was a significant contributory factor. From next month, the court will also be able to deal with domestic abuse cases where alcohol played a role.

The alcohol court was made a permanent fixture following a 6 months’ trial. It deals with offenders who plead guilty or who are convicted of public order or drink-driving offences and charges involving violence or dishonesty. Sentencing aims to address alcohol-driven crime, with a focus on education and counselling. Community sentences are frequently issued along with an order allowing the sheriff to monitor progress.

The court’s extended programme will now offer an alternative to custody for offenders convicted of domestic abuse. A convicted domestic abuser will be enrolled on a programme which aims to address their violent behaviour and improve the lives of the women and children affected. If at any point the programme is breached by the perpetrator the case is returned to court for consideration and a separate sentence could be imposed.

Problem-solving approach

The creation of the so-called ‘problem-solving’ alcohol court followed the success of the drug court, which was created in 2001. Over the last 12 months, of the 128 offenders referred, 61% have been made the subject of an alcohol court order. During this period, 51 community payback orders and 27 deferred sentences were imposed, and only three were revoked for non-compliance. The Sheriffs hope the extension to include domestic abuse cases will reap similar positive results. AlphaBiolabs has a Walk in Centre located at Glasgow Medical Rooms at 211 St Vincent Street. For information on this and our other alcohol testing services, please contact on 0333 600 1300 or email