Multi-agency effort to tackle underage drinking in Alnwick

Coun Liz Simpson, Safer Northumberland Partnership chairman.
Coun Liz Simpson, Safer Northumberland Partnership chairman.

A multi-agency initiative to tackle underage drinking in and around Alnwick is now working closely with local retailers.

The Alnwick Community Alcohol Partnership (CAP), which is the first of its kind in the area, is being led by Northumberland County Council’s community safety team and follows more than 100 successful projects elsewhere in the UK.

It aims to educate young people around the impact of alcohol use, reduce their access to alcohol and highlight to the wider public the impact alcohol abuse has on our communities.

Agencies including Northumbria Police, the council and major retailers have joined local licensees, schools and youth groups and work together to reduce teen drinking and associated anti-social behaviour.

Coun Liz Simpson, chairman of the Safer Northumberland partnership, said: “A priority for the campaign is reducing the opportunities youths have to buy alcohol.

“To help with this, Sainsbury’s and The Co-op have agreed to run free training for independent retailers on responsible selling, including the Challenge 25 age-verification policy and how to spot fake ID.

“The partnership has also worked with retailers to paint temporary stencils outside their stores reminding shoppers about underage sales. It’s great that local businesses are coming on board to help get this message across.”

Other initiatives under way include a weekend of action around proxy sales, a young driver’s evening and local schools recently took part in a competition to design a wristband.

The winners each received a £15 iTunes vouchers from Sainsbury’s as well having their wristband produced for young people in the area.

Derek Lewis, chairman of Community Alcohol Partnerships, said: “Community alcohol partnerships are a tried and tested way of driving down underage drinking and creating better, safer and friendlier neighbourhoods. Locally tailored partnerships, that recognise that retailers and licensees are an important part of the solution, have been shown to be highly effective in driving down harm.”