'Public outcry' sank free gym passes for drunken louts
PLANS to give drunken troublemakers free gym passes have been rejected.
Members of Humberside Police Authority said a "public outcry" meant they could not support plans to give offenders the passes.
Hull Citysafe wanted £29,000 from the authority to mentor and divert convicted criminals, including giving them free gym passes if they stayed out of trouble.
At a meeting of the authority, members voted to award the money to Citysafe – as long as none of the money was spent on gym passes.
DO YOU KNOW ANYONE SELLING A HOUSE? YOU COULD EARN £350 FOR TEN...View details
YES! You could earn £350+ cash for your leads - Call us or view our video explaining how you can make ££s for 10 mins. work.
See Cash4YourProperty Leads on our website:
Contact: 01482 423525
Valid until: Wednesday, July 31 2013
City councillor and authority member Mike Ross said: "The fact there was a public outcry showed this was not the right road to go down.
"It is not sensible to go ahead with a method that would lose the confidence and support of the public.
"There is a need to tackle alcohol-related crime, but it has to be done in a sensible manner."
Vicky Harris, head of substance misuse and offender health at Citysafe, said the scheme would enable offenders to replace drinking with the "natural high" of exercise.
It formed part of a request to the police authority for £288,000 to tackle alcohol-related crime across the force area after a "huge increase" in hospital admissions in East Yorkshire.
But the proposals to include gym passes attracted fierce criticism from Mail readers and the Taxpayers' Alliance, who said it would reward criminals.
Mrs Harris told the meeting: "We are suggesting a small amount of money be used to support people that have made significant changes to their lives after six months of treatment.
"They require help and support through a mentor and diversionary activities that will help them to maintain long-term success."
City councillor and authority member Chris Sumpton voted against the plans to fund free gym passes.
He said: "The public have been quite vocal in their disapproval of this idea. They didn't want to see their money going on gym passes for offenders.
"Alcohol-related crime is undoubtedly a problem, but I didn't see the link between exercising and making good decisions when you have had a drink. You don't need a gym pass to exercise, it can be done for free."
Members supported plans to pay £70,000 to Hull Citysafe, which will be used to fund two alcohol health workers and mentor offenders who have completed a court-ordered alcohol treatment requirement.
In the East Riding, £60,000 will be used to set up drink seminars, which will see offenders avoid prosecution if they pay £50 to go on a course. An alcohol health worker will also be hired.
The remaining money will be spent on the south bank.