Crackdown on underage drinking

Bookmark and Share

New measures to tackle underage drinking across the country have been launched by the government.

Building on the Government’s ongoing drive to reduce underage drinking, the measures include a national football tournament, best practice guide and money to enforce new police powers.

The measures are designed to educate and support young people to make sensible decisions about alcohol, as well as cracking down in areas where underage drinking is causing anti-social behaviour.

Schools Minister Vernon Coaker said: "Research shows that parents underestimate their influence over their child’s drinking and attitudes to alcohol, yet a quarter of young people have never spoken to their parents about the issue. That’s why through the ‘Why Let Drink Decide?’ campaign we are giving parents and young people the confidence to have open conversations about alcohol, to ultimately delay the age at which young people start drinking.

“Some young people need more help, support and fun alternatives to drinking. Through the tournament and Kickz Cup 2010, young people will get to have fun with their peers on the pitch, alongside the chance to learn about the risks associated with drinking to help them make sensible decisions about alcohol.

“A very small minority let their drinking get out of control and this can lead to anti-social behaviour and problems in communities. We have given the police all the powers they need to crackdown on young people drinking alcohol. In the last six months of 2009 alone over 6000 litres of alcohol were confiscated from young people in our YCAP areas as part of the Government’s crackdown. We are determined to do all we can to prevent alcohol ruining the lives of children, young people and their families.”

Home Office Minister Alan Campbell said: "Alcohol is often at the root of youth crime, so by reducing underage drinking we can stop young people being drawn into anti-social behaviour and crime.

Using the appeal of professional football clubs, Kickz targets challenging areas and build safer, stronger, more respectful communities through the development of young peoples’ potential. Issues covered will range from how to lead a healthy lifestyle to the dangers of gangs or carrying knives. The new tournament sponsored by the Department for Children, Schools and Families will focus on raising awareness of the risks associated with drinking alcohol and will use workshops and advice sessions before and after the tournament to discuss alcohol with the young people involved.

Reacting to a Government campaign, Chris Sorek, Chief Executive of Drinkaware, said: “For young people, boredom and drinking alcohol often goes hand in hand – nearly one in 10 young people aged 16 and 17 (8 per cent) drink at least once a week just because they are bored.  During school holidays and half term young people can find themselves with nothing to do, so it is very important that parents remind teenagers they can have fun without alcohol.  Parents play a crucial role in shaping their children’s attitudes towards alcohol, often without even realising it.

“Underage drinking, especially during the school holidays, needs to be tackled, because young people who drink alcohol can put themselves at risk. It can be difficult for parents to know how and when to talk to their children about alcohol, but with the right support and advice, it can hopefully seem less daunting. Children need to know the facts about alcohol and often parents are in the best position to give it to them.”

The new government measures will mean that:

  • Over 2,000 young people will take part in a Kickz football tournament, providing a positive alternative to drinking alcohol. Along with over 35,000 young people involved in wider Kickz activity, participants will be encouraged to have open and honest conversations about the dangers of underage drinking in workshops.
  • Young people across the country will see new cinema advertisements showing them the risks associated with drinking alcohol as part of the Government’s ‘Why Let Drink Decide?’ campaign.
  • Every local authority will have a good practice guide to help them work with the police, Trading Standards, children’s services and youth services to prevent underage drinking becoming a problem in their area.
  • Parents will have greater confidence to talk to their children about drinking following new research which shows how influential parents are in a young person’s relationship with alcohol.
  • The 69 Youth Crime Action Plan (YCAP) areas will receive additional funding of £350,000 to help police forces implement their new alcohol powers, including confiscating alcohol from young people and cracking down on retailers selling alcohol to underage young people.
School Leadership Today