Under-age drinking not retailers' fault, says poll

18 April, 2008

Only 9% of consumers think

shops are responsible for under-age street drinking problems in the UK, an independent poll by the Association of Convenience Stores has found.

But the survey

of 1,001 consumers, found that more than half thought retailers could do more to tackle the problem.

Fifty-four per cent of those questioned said parents carried the greatest responsibility for the issue

and 26% blamed police.

The poll also found

only 33% thought their communities suffered from under-age street drinking.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: "It is very important to keep a handle on what people think, and not simply on what the national media and politicians portray as the public's view. The most emphatic finding from this polling exercise is the sense of parental accountability for under-age drinking.

"Our research shows

the public aren't fooled by the government's persistent attacks on our sector in the media. Sooner or later the government is going to have to confront what the public knows is the biggest cause of the problem.

"More needs to be done to educate parents and bring light to the real issue of proxy purchasing, along with ways of dealing with the problem of violence and abusive behaviour towards shop staff."

See Analysis, page 12

According to research by SOLTrack,

74% of off-licence regulars believe their local store is doing all in its power to combat under-age sales, with just 1% claiming more work needed to be done. But 11% of respondents also said they would be offended if asked for proof of age.

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