Sub-21 initiative goes on trial

24 April, 2009

The government is piloting a scheme in which off-licences do not sell alcohol to under-21s on weekends

in a bid to clamp down on under-age kerbside drinking.

The Department of Health's Sub-21 initiative is being trialled in off-licences in

North Tyneside .

In return for refusing to serve under-21s on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and bank holidays, retailers will be offered

support

from Northumbria Police and North Tyneside Council Trading Standards .

This will include regular visits from police and Trading Standards officers, conflict management training for staff and monthly meetings with other retailers.

Wallsend neighbourhood inspector Mick Todd said: "We know that under-age drinking frequently leads to antisocial behaviour and low -level crime . This initiative will help us to reduce incidents ."

Louise Pinkney of the National Social Marketing Centre - a partnership between the D OH and consumer organisation Consumer Focus - said Sub-21 is unique because it uses social marketing techniques to change the behaviour of young people.

NSMC has used text messages and social networking websites such as Facebook to ask young people what would prevent them from drinking alcohol, leading to the creation of a range of after-school activities such as street -dancing lessons, film-editing courses, graffiti workshops and teaching skills such as cooking, IT

and joinery.

Local schools, North Tyneside Primary Care Trust,

and council and community youth services are working with police and licensing authorities to promote and host the activities.

Jan Thompson of North Tyneside PCT said: "It emerged that many young people bought alcohol and drank in the streets because there is a shortage of alternative activities.

"This view was echoed by retailers. It is relatively cheap and accessible, compared to the price of going to the cinema."

The initiative will run from May to the end of July

and if it is successful it will be rolled out to other regions in the UK.




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