Under-age initiative extended

11 July, 2008

A pilot scheme to tackle illegal teenage drinking is attracting new followers

A scheme that saw retailers, police, schools and local authorities working together to curb under-age drinking is to be rolled out elsewhere in the country following a successful launch.

The Community Alcohol Partnership, which began in St Neots, Cambs, in September, is said to have reduced the number of children found with alcohol in their possession and also cut down on antisocial behaviour.

A similar scheme has now been introduced in Cambridge city centre and there are plans to extend it to Reading, Kent and North Yorkshire. A number of other authorities are also in discussions.

The scheme begins with a training session involving independent retailers, meetings will all licensed premises owners and the issuing of signage.

In addition, information is shared between off-trade retailers and authorities,

schools invite speakers to discuss the legal and social issues surrounding alcohol, and visits to stores which are monitored to ensure they are successfully discouraging sales to minors.

The intention is to gain positive

local media coverage. An awards ceremony recognises those who have made major contributions to its success.

The scheme

was

created by the Retail Alcohol Standards Group (RASG), which represents major off-trade retailers, and the Wine & Spirit Trade Association.

RASG chairman Nick Grant said: "The success of the St Neots scheme shows what can be achieved when retailers, local enforcement agencies and schools work together . We're pleased colleagues in Cambridge want to follow suit and we look forward to launching other community alcohol partnerships ."

Cambridgeshire county councillor Sir Peter Brown said: "This is a

chance

to

tackle the problem. Under-age drinking leads to antisocial behaviour and crime, while teenagers who have been drinking can become victims themselves."




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