ID Under 25 Community Alcohol Partnerships cut underage drinking

Independent retailers wanting more support from local police in tackling antisocial behaviour and making age-related sales are being encouraged to join a Community Alcohol Partnership (CAP).

Made up of retailers, local authorities, police, schools, neighbourhood groups and health providers, the partnerships work together to make a positive difference to the health and well-being of young people.

Director Kate Winstanley told betterRetailing there is a “clear role for independent retailers to play”. She said: “We help give store owners a feeling that they are part of the solution, and help them to avoid feeling isolated within their own community.”

In its latest annual report, published two weeks ago, the company showed CAPs helped reduce weekly drinking for 13-to- 16-year-olds by 62% over the past six months, cut antisocial behaviour by nearly half (42%), as well as reduced the number of residents reporting children and young people drinking in public places to be a “very big” or “fairly big” problem by 68%.

Jalpesh Patel, manager of a Londis in Broadstairs, Kent, praised the partnerships for giving him more confidence in making age-related sales.

“It used to be more of a problem – two or three times a week we had children in here trying to buy alcohol and when we refused, they would start arguing,” he said.

“The CAP has been helpful for the business, underage refusals and proxy buying are less.

“People understand now, and it has given us confidence.”

A Best-one owner in Ramsgate, also in Kent, added: “A couple of years ago, people were running away with drink, and being part of a CAP has been a great deterrent.”

When asked what the main benefits were to being involved in a CAP, Winstanley said: “Helping retailers build relationships with their local police officers is definitely one of the biggest advantages.

“We have monthly meetings which give everyone belonging to a CAP the opportunity to get together and this is a good chance for retailers to meet their local officers.”

Winstanley confirmed officers have committed to having more of a presence around certain stores who reported an uplift in antisocial behaviour.

“It allows retailers to share intelligence,” she said. “In most cases, officers would make sure they patrolled that area to help deter issues.”

The ACS helps fund CAP, and is also a board director. Chief executive James Lowman said: “The core principles of CAP – to engage local partners, prevent underage access to alcohol and educate young people – have proved to be the most effective approach to tackling underage drinking and associated harm.”

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