In Brief

Trust asks for more cash

Drinkaware Trust chief executive Jean Collingwood has sent out a plea to the drinks industry for more financial support. The trust - which focuses on providing independent, impartial advice on alcohol for consumers - currently has £2.7 million worth of funding from the industry. "W e would like to

extend our work and make more of that possible," she said. One million consumers had accessed Drinkaware's website since it was launched, Collingwood added.

Academic take on crime

Test purchasing can change the role of shop staff from "police to criminal", according to Lancaster University academic Dr Gillian Hopkinson. The senior lecturer was part of a team which conducted 50 interviews with retailers focusing on their views about test purchasing. Staff who were caught out often felt

it was a once-off event and were unlikely to change their behaviour, she said. Authorities should realise that shop workers often feel they have a positive role to play, Hopkinson added.

Clampdown gets results

Twelve off-licences in and around Birkenhead in Merseyside have been working with police to prevent people drinking on the streets. Through Off-licence Watch, the retailers have helped officers make 13 arrests in the past two weeks and secure an asbo against a 31-year-old man. Retailers

have also signed up to the Shopsafe initiative in the run-up to Christmas. The scheme aims to deter shoplifters by radio-linking stores in the town to each other and the police.

Media exaggeration

Liberalising the licensing laws has not caused more binge drinking, according to British Beer & Pub Association communications director Mark Hastings. Hastings said national media had exaggerated the affect of the licensing regime change in 2005. "We're not drinking more than we ever have done before - pubs' sales of beer are now at their lowest point since the great depression of the 1930s," he said.

Three join new group

The WSTA, British Beer & Pub Association and British Retail Consortium have been invited to the first meeting of the Corporate Social Responsibility Group, which will act as an "advisory body and forum for discussion" for the various groups overseeing the action plan from the Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategy. The first meeting of the group, which is made up of industry and health bodies plus government representatives, will take place on Dec 4.

Supermarket prices attacked

Supermarket pricing is

a contributory factor

to the decline in on-trade beer sales, according to Regent Inns' commercial director Simon Kaye. Speaking at OLN's RDR conference , Kaye said: "I'm employed by a company that's taken apart by the supermarkets." Alcohol should not be affordable to children, Kaye said.