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Teenage drink crackdown ‘success’

Thousands of teenagers had a total of 5,171 litres of alcohol confiscated in a summer crackdown on binge drinking, the government has said.

As part of a £1.4m campaign, more than 3,500 youngsters in 69 “priority areas” of England were stopped between July and September.

Also, more than 1,800 parents were informed and more than 18,000 teenagers directed to “positive” activities.

The Conservatives said the scheme had made no real difference to the problem.

However children’s minister Dawn Primarolo said the campaign was a “success story”.

In June, Children’s Secretary Ed Balls announced that 69 youth crime priority areas would be given a share of extra cash to help them clamp down on teenage binge-drinking in the summer months.

The funding allowed the authorities in the towns and cities to confiscate alcohol, break up groups of young people who were getting drunk and get them to sign contracts promising to behave.

Dispersal orders

Each area was also required to work with families to address the underlying reasons for children’s behaviour.

As a result:

  • 5,171 litres of alcohol were confiscated
  • 3,721 actions were taken for drinking in public, including 500 dispersal orders
  • Almost 2,000 young people were referred to support services, including 324 for alcohol treatment
  • 1,829 parents were informed about their children’s behaviour
  • 18,660 youngsters were directed to other activities in their areas
  • 2,467 test purchase operations were carried out – 349 licensed premises failed
  • A further 515 police operations were carried out in the 69 areas, with 2,074 youngsters who were drunk and causing trouble referred to support services

Ms Primarolo said: “Although the majority of young people are law-abiding and don’t cause any problems in their communities, in some areas of the country some young people’s drinking is getting out of control.

“This can lead to more serious low level crime and the disruption and intimidation of communities.

“This behaviour is unacceptable which is why it is vital that local services get tough on teenage drinking by confiscating alcohol, and use enforcement powers to show young people that their anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated.

“As the results show, the best approach is when youth and social services work alongside the police to support, intervene and prevent young people getting into trouble again.”

But shadow home secretary Chris Grayling said: “This is typical of a government that makes announcements to make itself sound good – but never actually does anything that really makes a difference.”

‘Being sensible’

Chief Inspector Laurence Taylor led the crackdown in Brighton.

He told the BBC the additional funding had allowed the authorities to build on work already done, to put in place “sustainable campaigns” and “enforcement pathways”.

Over the summer, he said, in Brighton they had stopped 575 10 to 17-year-olds – 530 were under the influence of alcohol and 320 had had alcohol seized.

Of these, 12% were stopped a second time and “just” one person stopped four times, he said.

“We not there to stop young people enjoying themselves, but it is about being sensible,” he said.

source:  BBC News

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