Retailers have been warned to be especially vigilant when checking IDs as more than 700,000 students aged 15-16 prepare to celebrate GCSE results week.
Social enterprise group Under Age Sales polled 1,000 Year 11 students and found that 45% admitted they planned to drink this week.
A third said they would ask a family member or friend to buy alcohol for them, while 1 in 10 admitted they plan to use a fake ID.
Tony Allen, managing director of Under Age Sales, said: “Many teenagers receiving their exam results will see this as the perfect opportunity to celebrate with a drink. While some parents may allow this to happen in the safety of their own home where their children can be supervised, there are thousands of teenagers who will be trying to buy alcohol themselves.
“Retailers need to make sure they not only understand the law around age restricted products, but that they also feel confident adhering to it. Training is key in order to protect retailers, their business and staff. As well as knowing when to ask for ID, retailers need to know how to request it and what to do if any issues arise.
“Our research found a quarter of teenagers who have been challenged for ID feel annoyed or angry, while 40 per cent feel embarrassed. Retailers need to be able to handle situations effectively to ensure such feelings don’t escalate to anything more severe. What’s more, retailers need to be mindful of how they interact with their customers, as our research found over a fifth (22%) of 15 and 16-year-olds feel they have been threatened or experienced violence after trying to purchase alcohol.”
The research discovered that while some teenagers may save boozing for special occasions, such as exam results day, for others it’s a more regular occurrence. The data showed that 26% drink alcohol at least once a month and 13% drink at least once a week.
Allen added: “The law around age restricted products is there to protect young people and our communities. Retailers are the gatekeepers to preventing teenagers accessing items such alcohol and effective training can help empower them to carry out their work legally, fairly and confidently.
“Lack of knowledge or resources isn’t an excuse – retailers have a responsibility to ensure all staff receive ongoing training and that they have the correct procedures in place to stop young people obtaining products they shouldn’t.”