Scheme launched to tackle underage drinking

A new scheme has been launched to tackle underage drinking.
A new scheme has been launched to tackle underage drinking.

A new scheme to tackle underage drinking and anti-social behaviour has been launched in three Doncaster suburbs highlighted as areas at risk of being blighted by youth nuisance.

The Community Alcohol Partnership (CAP) will see police, council and health services work together in a bid to reduce youth boozing in Askern, Norton and Campsall.

The CAP has been hailed as a major success in other parts of the UK but this is the first pilot scheme in Doncaster. Project leaders say it could be rolled out across the borough if it brings effective results.

Councillor Joe Blackham, cabinet member for neighbourhoods, said: “CAP’s have been very effective at tackling underage drinking, and I believe that it can be just as effective in Askern, Norton and Campsall.

“I am confident that, through working with our partners and local stakeholders, we can go even further to tackling anti-social behaviour in that area, and perhaps across Doncaster in future if the scheme proves successful.”

This latest initiative comes after Doncaster was designated as a Local Alcohol Action Area (LAAA) in February to combat drink-fuelled crime and disorder and the damage caused to people’s health.

The council’s public health team identified Askern, Norton and Campsall as areas which would benefit from the project.

A spokesman said alcohol related youth nuisance was not particularly high in the three areas chosen but added youngsters could be at risk of falling into a pattern of underage drinking as they are ‘isolated areas’ away from town centre attractions.

He said: “The three areas are in line with national figures that shows alcohol-related youth incidents are falling. They have been chosen because the communities were keen to pilot it and they are clustered quite close together away from major amenities. This should also make it easier for different agencies to collaborate.”

The multi-agency initiative could see increased police and council patrols in areas where underage drinking is known along with test purchasing in shops and pubs.

Project leaders are also looking at working with licensed premises to encourage them to display Challenge 25 posters and to ask anyone who looks under the age of 25 to provide identification.

An education programme may also form part of the scheme, which would see officials visit schools to give talks on the dangers of underage drinking.

Another area being looked at is to introduce a programme of activities aimed at young people during weekday evenings and at the weekend.

Askern Town councillor Francis Jackson, former town mayor, said: “We have had problems in the past with youths drinking around the lake but that seems to have abated.

“I am pleased that the scheme has been launched and the town council will work with the relevant agencies on this. Underage drinking can lead to many problems and educating young people about the dangers is key.”

The first CAP was launched in the small market town of St Neots in Cambridgeshire in 2007, which saw anti-social behaviour fall by 42 per cent and a 90 per cent decrease in the number of under-18’s found in possession of alcohol. There was also 92 per cent less alcohol-related litter. The scheme has since been rolled out to 80 areas across the country.

Derek Lewis, the national chair of CAPs, said: “I am delighted at the launch of a CAP in these areas of Doncaster.

“CAPs 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.”