Appeal to parents as govt pledges to ‘disrupt’ underage age drinking

The government has welcomed news the police seized 20,945 litres (44,265 pints) of alcohol from underage drinkers during the February half term.

Announcing the results of the police campaign, Home Office minister Vernon Coaker called on parents and retailers to help in the government’s plans to reduce under age drinking in the UK.

The £760,000 campaign took place between February 8th to 24th as part of a clampdown on public drinking.

Of the 5,143 youths who gave up their drink to police officers, around 25 per cent said they were 15 years old or younger.

In total, officers confiscated almost 37,000 pints of beer and cider, 1,165 litres of wine, 1,027 litres of spirits and 1,255 litres of alocpops.

Mr Coaker claimed that removing the alcohol from the youths was just one part of the government’s plans to reduce the disruption caused by underage drinking.

“Confiscating alcohol is just one part of our strategy to address the damage and disruption that underage drinking causes to youngsters, their families and the communities they live in,” he said.

“We are working across government to combine tough enforcement of the law with effective alcohol education for children and parents and to help young people find alternative things to do.

“I know the public will welcome police action to disperse groups of threatening youths and choke their supply of alcohol. This campaign will not be the last,” he claimed.

The Home Officer minister also said that parents and retailers played a key role in helping reduce underage drinking.

“I also want to remind parents of their responsibility and where poor parenting is identified as an issue I want to see greater use of parenting contracts to tackle persistent underage drinking. I also want to see greater sharing of information between police and local agencies about repeat offenders to address problems as early as possible.

“Police officers tell me that these campaigns yield valuable intelligence about where children get their alcohol. With this in mind, I want to send a strong signal once again to those persistent few irresponsible retailers that deliberately sell to under-18s. They will be caught and they will be punished,” he added.

The government is expected to publish a Youth Alcohol Action Plan in coming months which will provide information for parents and young people on the sensible drinking of alcohol.

The Conservatives, however, have accused the government of being too weak in enforcing alcohol laws.

Shadow home Secretary, David Davis, said: “A two week crackdown is all very well, but Labour continue to fail to enforce alcohol laws .They talk tough about increasing penalties to tackle drinking in public but in the last three years not a single person has received the current maximum fine of £500 for refusing to surrender alcohol. Even those fined – nearly 80 per cent have to pay less than £50.

“Rather than one off campaigns we need concerted action over the long term to tackle binge drinking and alcohol-related disorder.”