CAP reduces under-age drinking

Community Alcohol Partnerships (CAP), which works with retailers to prevent under-age drinking, has reported substantial reductions in the supply of alcohol to children in areas where it has created local partnerships.

In its 2020 annual report it looked at data from 2016 to 2020, which showed that 99% of retailers passed Challenge 25 compliance tests for alcohol sales, while 86% of retailers did not sell alcohol when they suspected it was a “proxy” sale.

The report also identified a 50% reduction in young people hanging around shops and asking adults to buy alcohol for them and a 61% average reduction in weekly drinking among those aged 13-16. In addition, there was a 42% reduction in youth alcohol-related antisocial behaviour.

Since CAP was created in 2007, 214 schemes have been launched in England, Scotland and Wales. The team is currently in discussion with partners in a further 41 areas. The aim of the schemes is to bring together local stakeholders with a shared interest in preventing under-age drinking and encouraging responsible drinking among young adults.

Individual CAPs are made up of retailers, local authorities, police, schools, neighbourhood groups and health providers, working together to empower communities to tackle alcohol-related harm among young people and improve the quality of life for residents.

CAP director Kate Winstanley said: “CAP works closely with retailers, providing support, training and publicity materials. They tell us that being part of CAP makes them more aware of regulations about under-age sales and more confident about complying with them, especially when dealing with difficult situations like confrontations in-store and abuse of staff.

“The examples in this report show how, despite the pandemic, CAPs have found creative ways to protect young people from alcohol harm and promote their health and wellbeing. We have also seized the opportunity to invest in the future by developing our work in Scotland and creating online resources to enable us to grow faster and be even more cost-effective.“

ALCOHOL EDUCATION

Each CAP project’s action plan is based around three key themes: alcohol education in schools and for parents; provision of activities for young people that promote their health and wellbeing; and retail signage and training to prevent under-age purchases.

Chairman Derek Lewis said: “Like all enterprises that have historically operated through face-to-face relationships, CAPs have been hit hard by Covid. Nevertheless, the power of the partnership model to respond to changing circumstances and to innovate has never been more clearly

demonstrated. The examples in this report evidence the way, despite Covid, that existing CAPs have sustained their work and new CAPs have been launched. We have also seized the opportunity to invest in capacity for the future.

“For example, we have recruited a dedicated adviser to lead an intensive programme of growth in Scotland and further developed our online programmes and digital communications. This will enable us to grow faster and be even more cost-effective.”

Local CAPs are established and run by people from a variety of organisations within communities, including retailers, to identify and tackle the problems associated with alcohol consumption by young people. Each local partnership identifies its own priorities, which might include reducing alcohol related antisocial behaviour, alcohol litter, proxy purchases, sales to under-18s or parents supplying children with alcohol.

Looking ahead, the short to medium-term goals are: rapid growth in priority areas to achieve near universal coverage of CAPs in all areas with above-average under-age harms (target is 300 CAPs) as quickly as possible; support and sustain the impact of CAPs via its CAP+ programme; and extend the remit of CAPs to provide continued coverage after children pass 18 and become adults. Scotland is a key priority area and

has funding and plans to launch 12 Super CAPs, each covering several local communities over the next three years as part of the CAP Scotland programme.

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