Boston Community Alcohol Partnership (CAP) has won a national award for its work tackling underage drinking. It received the CAP of the Year Award at an online event on March 31 to launch CAP’s national annual report and highlight the resilience and determination of local communities to tackle alcohol harm among young people, improve their health and wellbeing and enhance their communities during this challenging time.
Presenting the award, Matt Warman, MP for Boston and Skegness, said: “Boston CAP has done truly brilliant work in reducing young people’s alcohol abuse and street drinking in the town. It’s another great example of Boston’s organisations working together - and with the community - to improve the health and wellbeing of young people. CAP brings together local retailers, police, trading standards, schools, youth groups, and community organisations, all with the support of Boston Borough Council. I am delighted to present the CAP of the Year Award to Inspector Francesca Harrod and Sergeant Kate Odlin, and I’m pleased they’ve both been acknowledged for their hard work in reducing alcohol abuse through Boston CAP."
The CAP has achieved some notable successes since its launch in 2016, with big reductions in alcohol sales to under-18s, in the number of residents reporting young people being drunk and rowdy in public places and the incidence of alcohol related litter in the town. The percentage of 13, 14, 15 and 16 year old students saying that they drink alcohol on a weekly basis has reduced from 13% to 7%.
The CAP is proud of the way it involves young people in its work. It engages with local schools and colleges and provides work experience to learners on Boston College Uniformed Public Services course, inviting them along on Challenge 25 and refusals checks and involving them in residents and licensing surveys. CAP co-ordinator Inspector Francesca Harrod of Boston Neighbourhood Policing says: “They learn, licensees learn and the public see young people invested in their own wellbeing and the wellbeing of the town.”
During lockdown the CAP came up with some innovative ways to get its messages out to the community about the risks of underage drinking, including circulating alcohol awareness videos to schools and young people’s centres and placing eye catching bollard covers around the town. A police display vehicle made frequent rounds, using its large screen on the side of the vehicle to show messages and videos, while the Road Hog Christian Outreach Bus patrolled hotspot areas.
Inspector Harrod adds: “We have some grand plans for the easing of COVID restrictions, including addressing county lines drug dealing. Drinking leading to vulnerability which others can exploit, getting youngsters sucked in to increasingly riskier behaviours. We also aim to get some aspirational figures from the skate world to attend a skills competition at our new skate park, and at the same time getting alcohol messages out to young people in a fun way.”
214 CAP schemes have now been launched throughout the country. They are made up of partnerships between retailers, local authorities, police, schools, neighbourhood groups and health providers, working together to empower communities to tackle alcohol-related harm to young people and improve their health and wellbeing.
The national CAP annual report, launched at the online event, shows how this innovative partnership approach has brought significant reductions around the UK in alcohol supply to children, alcohol-related anti-social behaviour and underage street drinking.
Nationally, CAP evaluations for the period 2016-2020 show:
- 61% average reductions in weekly drinking among 13-16 year olds
- 99% of retailers passed Challenge 25 compliance test for alcohol sales
- 86% of retailers did not sell alcohol when they suspected it was a ‘proxy’ sale
- 50% reduction in young people hanging around shops and asking adults to buy alcohol for them
- 42% reduction in youth alcohol-related anti-social behaviour
Derek Lewis, Chair of CAP, says: "Like many organisations, CAP has been hit hard by Covid. Nevertheless, the power of the partnership model to respond to changing circumstances and innovate has never been more clearly demonstrated. 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."
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About Community Alcohol Partnerships:
- Since CAP was created in 2007, it has launched 214 schemes in England, Scotland and Wales. They bring together a range of local stakeholders with a shared interest in preventing underage drinking and encouraging responsible drinking among young adults. CAPs are made up of partnerships between retailers, local authorities, police, schools, neighbourhood groups and health providers, working together to empower communities to tackle alcohol-related harm to young people, improve their health and wellbeing and enhance their communities.
- For more information and to see the annual report: www.communityalcoholpartnerships.co.uk