Campaign aims to cut underage drinking

Police, retailers, alcohol producers and councils are launching a Scotland-wide campaign to drive down underage drinking and associated anti-social behaviour.

A campaign to tackle underage drinking and youth disorder has been launched across Scotland.
A campaign to tackle underage drinking and youth disorder has been launched across Scotland.

A CAMPAIGN to halt adults buying alcohol for minors is being launched across Scotland this month.

The “It’ll Cost You!” programme is a collaboration between Police Scotland, local authorities and alcohol producers and retailers – and aims to raise awareness of the damaging effects and criminal nature of buying alcohol for under-18s.

Asking an adult to buy alcohol is one of the most common tactics used by young people to access alcohol. It’s an offence in Scotland for an adult to buy or attempt to buy alcohol for someone who is under the age of 18.

In a series of successful pilots by the Scottish Alcohol Industry Partnership across Lanarkshire, Edinburgh and Glasgow, results consistently showed a drop in street drinking and anti-social behaviour.

Police Scotland analysts reported that youth disorder incidents reduced by 10% in the North Lanarkshire pilot. The campaign also contributed to a 51% reduction of reports of children drinking on the street.

Adults who buy alcohol for children may face a fine of up to £5,000. Depending on the circumstances you could also face a prison sentence of up to three months and a criminal record.

Superintendent Claire Dobson, Police Scotland Partnerships Preventions and Community Wellbeing Division, said: “It’ll Cost You is a really important campaign that looks to address the various risks to young people associated with them gaining access to alcohol.

“The collaborative approach is aimed at reducing the harm caused by the sale or purchase of alcohol to anyone under the age of 18, including health, wellbeing and the number of youth-related offences that occur, particularly during school holidays and weekends, and reflects the joint commitment of all agencies involved to keep young people safe from harm.”

Luke McGarty, of the Scottish Grocers’ Federation, said: “Tackling underage drinking and anti-social behaviour linked to alcohol is something we support and ties in with SGF’s position of promoting responsible community retailing.

“Previous experience with the campaign has shown the benefits to local communities when we work across sectors to tackle the issue of alcohol harm. We look forward to working with the campaign over the coming summer months.”

ScotGov community safety minister Siobhian Brown added: “The Scottish Government is committed to protecting young people and children from harm. Underage drinking can cause short and long-term harm to health and introduce young people to dangerous situations.”