Lancaster City Council, Lancashire Police, Lancashire County Council youth services, plus local schools and retailers and partners teamed up to form a Community Alcohol Partnership (CAP) in response.
It also hopes the scheme will prevent alcohol-related harm to young people and improve the health of young people and quality of life for residents.
The CAP will work with youth services to provide leisure and sports activities for young people, with schools on alcohol education to arm young people with information on alcohol, drugs, anti-social and criminal behaviour.
The positive impact of the CAP’s work with local retailers to help them avoid making underage sales and reduce ‘proxy’ sales - where adults buy alcohol for under-18s – was seen recently with all of 27 premises visited by the CAP locally, refusing to sell to young test purchase volunteers.
Fiona Inston, chair of the Lancaster CAP and head of Lancaster City Council’s public protection, said: “Lancaster is the eighth worst performing district in the Northwest for under 18s hospital admissions linked to alcohol, and concerns were raised by the community about young people’s drinking and anti-social behaviour.
“To tackle the issues, we formed the Lancaster Community Alcohol Partnership as part of our work with the community safety partnership to help reduce some of the harm that alcohol causes in our communities and to our young people.
“The partnership work together to produce an action plan that focuses on issues such as alcohol education, positive activities for young people, responsible retailing, enforcement and community engagement.”
One of the four main objectives for Lancaster’s Police Licensing Team is to protect children from harm in the licensing domain – which includes employing tactics and initiatives to prevent alcohol from being sold to underage children.
PC Andrew Taylor, of the Police Licensing Team in Lancaster, said: “We are always looking at working in partnership with authorities and agencies to protect children from harm and part of this work is carrying out plain clothes operations to carry out test purchases at off licenses.
“With this proactive work we can then look at how we can engage with children with different agencies to move them away from that environment and get them engaging in different after school activities.
“Lancaster CAP is extremely important in changing children’s behaviour towards a more positive path.”
Kate Winstanley, Director of Community Alcohol Partnerships, said: "I am delighted to see the launch of a CAP in Lancaster district. Underage drinking is associated with school and educational problems, unprotected sex, drug-taking, violence and drinking problems in later life.
“In just over a decade CAP has set up more than 200 partnerships around the UK and our evaluations show they are having a significant impact on reducing children’s alcohol consumption, improving their health and wellbeing and enhancing the communities where they live.”
Last updated: 30 September 2022