It was with some interest that I read the article on the matter of drunks on Weymouth (Echo, July 4).

I should say immediately that I have some sympathy towards the seafront traders. I, too, find the drunks are an affront to my sensibilities and see them as a blight on the town.

It is apparent from Inspector Pete Meteau’s comments that the police are constrained. They can only offer short-term remedies, not long-term solutions. The police can only act within their available powers and should not be criticised in this regard.

Thus other agencies in Weymouth, public and charitable, must deal with the problem. Yet, it is clear that those agencies are over-stretched and under-resourced. Were they sufficient, there would be no problem.

What solutions then do the seafront traders offer? Apparently none, and it is this observation that prompts me to write. Crude solutions such as banning the drunks from the seafront will have no benefit.

They will simply move the problem elsewhere in the town. At least on the seafront, the drunks are under CCTV. A point that I suspect is not lost on the police.

So is there an assumption on the part of the traders (and others) that more sophisticated solutions are available, but unimplemented? What might such solutions be were they to exist? We might presume that they would be geared to the long-term and so primarily target the causes of the alcoholism from which the drunks suffer: primarily mental illnesses, of varying severity, all of which require specialist treatment.

Then there would be a need to address the means by which recovering alcoholics might be supported: education, employment, housing and social rehabilitation. Some form of local hostel with specialist staff would seem to be indicated.

This will require funding. How much? I do not know. My suspicion would be, in addition to a considerable set-up cost, an annual running cost of hundreds of thousands, not mere thousands of pounds. Where is the money to come from? I do not know. But if it is to be found, we will all pay for it through our taxes.

Or perhaps we might all increase the donations we make to those charitable organisations that are already trying to effect solutions to the problem raised. We might all constructively discuss with our councillors, our beat bobbies, our local Salvation Army and our MP what might be done, at what cost and over what timescale.

As I have said, I do not like the drunks. Yet I am also sympathetic to their situation. They are fellow humans fallen on hard times. There, but for good fortune, go you or I! Some are ex-services, some are from broken homes or broken marriages, one (now deceased) was an ex-company director, most were at one time employed, some used to own their own homes.

Very few chose to become drunks on Weymouth seafront - all have a personal story to tell. How do I know this? Because from time to time, I talk to them.

Perhaps there lies a part of the solution: Offer the occasional smile; say, ‘hello’; give them the odd bar of chocolate. You can even have a brief chat. Don’t treat them as outcasts that have no bearing on your life. They do.

What will not happen, anytime soon, will be for Weymouth to awake to discover drunks gone from its streets. Complex problems demand solutions that can rarely be effected at speed and without cost. Social problems, such as the drunks, can only be solved with the participation and consent of the society.

It is not enough simply to complain, it is incumbent on all that demand a solution to positively engage in the formulation of that solution.

Dr Ian Sedwell, Greenhill, Weymouth.