Community Alcohol Partnerships (CAP) has announced significant reductions in underage drinking in areas with CAP schemes, and it also announced plans to extend into around 100 new areas nationally. 

The latest report, which reflects evidence from the last four years, shows that CAPs are achieving significant reductions in alcohol supply to children, alcohol-related anti-social behaviour and underage drinking.

Speaking at the annual CAP celebration at the House of Lords last week, chair Derek Lewis launched its latest annual report. Evaluations for the period 2015-2019 show:

• 52% average reductions in regular drinking among 13-16 year olds
• 40% reductions in youth alcohol-related anti-social behaviour
• 80% improvement in Challenge 25 compliance following CAP training
• 90% reductions in residents reporting seeing under 18s drinking in the local area
• 77% reduction in young people hanging around shops and asking adults to buy alcohol for them

Since CAP was launched in 2007, 201 schemes have been launched in England, Scotland and Wales. The aim is to bring together a range of local stakeholders with a shared interest in preventing underage drinking and encouraging responsible drinking among young adults.

CAPs are made up of partnerships between retailers, local authorities, police, schools, neighbourhood groups and health providers, working together to empower communities to tackle alcohol-related harm to young people and improve the quality of life for residents.

 Derek Lewis said: “Underage drinking is associated with school and educational problems, unprotected sex, consumption of illicit drugs, violence and drinking problems in later life. We have been greatly encouraged to see emerging evidence that CAPs are reducing alcohol consumption by underage children.  

“While the proportion of young people in England who regularly consume alcohol has dropped slowly between 2001 and 2018, the reductions achieved in CAP areas are even greater, with 52% average reductions in regular drinking among 13-16 year olds. We believe that this reflects the increasing emphasis on working with schools within the CAP areas.”

CAP aims to increase the number of CAPs to 300 nationally in areas of high alcohol harm and to extend its remit to provide continued support as children become young adults.