Clampdown on adults who buy booze for kids

John Lee, Jim Logue, Roddy Irvine

Following a successful pilot in 2015, a campaign is launching throughout North Lanarkshire to tackle underage drinking and antisocial behaviour.

The partnership project between Scottish Alcohol Industry Partnership (SAIP), Police Scotland and North Lanarkshire Community Safety Partnership will also involve local retailers in their communities.

Adults who buy alcohol for children (proxy purchase) risk a fine of up to £5,000 or a jail term. This is reflected in the campaign’s name: ‘You’re asking for it’.

The impact of the 2015 Wishaw and Motherwell pilot contributed to violence across the localities dropping by 30%. Antisocial behaviour reduced by 13% and alcohol-related youth disorder reduced by 21%. By limiting the amount of alcohol in the community, the public reported 53% less street drinking offences.

Initiatives such as Challenge 25 have reduced the number of direct sales of alcohol to under 18s. ‘You’re asking for it’ responds to intelligence that under 18s are increasingly accessing alcohol by other means, such as proxy purchase.

Police Scotland will deploy officers to address the issue of proxy purchase and to actively target known hotspot locations and adults who think they are doing no harm in purchasing alcohol for children.

John Lee (pictured left), Head of Policy and Public Affairs, SGF and Chair of the SAIP Campaigns Group said: “We know that tackling underage drinking by targeting adults who buy alcohol for under 18s is successful, as proven in our previous campaigns. By running this new campaign across the whole of North Lanarkshire we hope to help reduce crime, antisocial behaviour and noise in the area and, most importantly, reduce the number of hospital admissions for young people.”

Divisional Commander for Lanarkshire Division, Chief Superintendent Roddy Irvine (pictured right) had this message for retailers: “Please support us in keeping our children safe and play your part in ensuring that your community is not asking for it.”

The campaign runs throughout the school holidays until mid-September.