Newcastle Alcohol Behaviour Change Course (ABC)

If you have been arrested for being Drunk and Disorderly and issued with a Penalty Notice for Disorder (PND) you may be eligible to attend the Newcastle Alcohol Behaviour Change Course (ABC).

The course will help you to think about reducing your alcohol intake and will tell you more about the impact of alcohol on your health and behaviour, as well as the effects these have on others.

This course is designed to give those offenders who are eligible, an option to learn about their drinking behaviour, to reduce their on the spot fine if they attend the course and to have their Drunk and Disorderly offence recorded a No Further Action (see section on Will I have a criminal record.)

Can I attend ABC?

The Custody Sergeant who deals with your case will provide you with information about the scheme, if you are eligible to attend. You will be given a leaflet explaining how to contact the scheme.

An Alcohol Referral will be appropriate when:

  • The offender is over 18 years of age
  • The Offence is alcohol related
  • The offender is willing to participate in an Alcohol Diversion Scheme
  • The offender understands and agrees to engage with the process
  • The PND is issued in Custody

What are the benefits of attending ABC

  • You will learn about alcohol related crime and its impact on you and others
  • You will learn about how alcohol can impact on your health and that of your family
  • Instead of paying the full fine, you will only have to pay £45 to attend the course
  • If you complete the course your Drunk & Disorderly conviction will be recorded as No Further Action.

How do I book a place?

If you wish to complete the course you need to contact Lifeline to book a place and make the payment for it.

This needs to be done within seven days of your arrest

Course bookings are to be made using the following telephone number  0191 261 5610.

Recognised photographic identification will be required on the day of the course. Attendance without such will be refused.

Will I have a criminal record?

If you have been charged or provided with a Penalty Notice for Disorder (PND) for the offence of Drunk and Disorderly it is classed as a conviction once you have appeared in court or paid the PND.

The offence is disclosable if you were applying for employment or considering emigrating to another country.

Whilst a conviction for drunk and disorderly will become spent after five years there will be instances when you will be required to disclose your offence, these include when applying for a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.

If a person wishes to work with children or vulnerable persons then they would be required to disclose all arrests, whether they were spent or not.

If a person has been arrested for Drunk & Disorderly and subsequently convicted at court this may very well preclude them from obtaining employment or commencing a programme of study to obtain relevant qualifications to work with children or vulnerable persons.

Similarly if they pay a PND it counts the same as a conviction and is disclosable.

How can ABC help?

A DBS check would still show the fact that a person had been arrested for Drunk & Disorderly

But by taking part in the ABC course and successfully completing it, the PND would be cancelled and any record would be finalised as No Further Action ( NFA).

In the future this may allow you to show that you recognised the importance of what had happened and that you sought to take action to stop in happening again.

Those actions could be used to show your commitment to making changes and may increase your chances of obtaining employment or a visa in the future.

If a person decides that they wish to emigrate, many countries ask persons to disclose not only all convictions and their results, but also the fact they were arrested.

Your actions when they were younger can have an impact later in life.

More information

It’s not always obvious when you’re drinking too much. However, your alcohol consumption could be affecting you in a number of different ways that you didn’t even realise. Weight gain, lack of sleep and trouble concentrating can all be caused by excess drinking.

There are a range of tools that you can use to work out exactly how much alcohol you’re drinking and the likely impact it’s having on your body.

You may find the following websites helpful: