Underage drinking and alcohol-related crime will be tackled through a new initiative launched in Richmondshire today (September 17).
Police will use a mix of education and enforcement to reduce drink-fuelled anti-social behaviour, especially in hotspots such as Richmond Falls.
The move comes after local residents, including parents, responded to surveys by saying they would welcome more action and support on the issue.
Officers will also help prevent alcohol sales to children and work with young people to make them more aware of the health risks.
It will be delivered through a Community Alcohol Partnership (CAP) which will see police working with retailers, schools, neighbourhood groups, Trading Standards, local authorities and other emergency and health services. North Yorkshire’s Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Philip Allott is also involved, and has backed the scheme.
PCSO Helenor Gwatkin, who is leading the launch for North Yorkshire Police, said: “Residents have told us their concerns about alcohol use by young people, and the impact this has on their community. We’ve listened to what they’ve said and we’re launching an initiative that will address these concerns head-on. It’ll also help keep young people safe and healthy. We’re confident Richmond’s CAP will deliver strong and positive results, just like these schemes have elsewhere in the country.”
Richmondshire CAP joins more than 200 areas where CAPs have been introduced. Elsewhere, they have led to 61% reductions in weekly drinking by teenagers, a 50% drop in young people hanging round shops and asking adults to buy alcohol, and a 42% decline in anti-social behaviour involving drink.
The CAP will focus on Richmond Falls and the town centre, and will also work with residents and schools in neighbouring Colburn and Catterick Garrison.
Police will team up with youth services and other local organisations to provide alcohol-free activities for young people and with local schools to take a proactive approach to alcohol education.
Trading Standards and police will arrange test purchases from local shops and will work with retailers to raise awareness of what they can do.
Kate Winstanley, the nationwide Director of Community Alcohol Partnerships, said: “I am delighted to see the launch of a CAP in Richmondshire.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.”