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Community Alcohol Partnerships report substantial reductions in underage drinking in Scotland

Community Alcohol Partnerships (CAP) has reported substantial reductions in children’s drinking and anti-social behaviour in areas where it has created local partnerships in Scotland.


A new report by CAP published this week has reported a 56% reduction in weekly drinking by 13-15 year olds in Edinburgh and Orkney since local partnerships were established.  The report was shared with MSPs at a CAP Reception at the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday 28 February 2023.


CAPs in these areas have also achieved:

  • 43% reductions in residents reporting children and young people drinking in public places to be a very big or fairly big problem
  • 42% reductions in anti-social behaviour
  • 47% reductions in residents reporting under 18s drinking in the area
  • 100% compliance with Challenge 25 – from an average baseline of 66%


The first CAP in Scotland was set up in Edinburgh in 2013. There are now seven CAP partnerships across Edinburgh as well as CAPs in Orkney, East Dunbartonshire, Airdrie, Motherwell, Mid Lothian and Kilsyth. With funding in place for further expansion, work is underway to launch new partnerships in at least five additional communities.


CAP partnerships in Scotland have:

  • Offered positive activities to support the health and wellbeing of children especially those engaging in anti-social behaviour
  • Provided evidence-based alcohol education for children and young people
  • Highlighted the dangers of proxy purchase (when an adult purchases alcohol for a someone who is underage)
  • Provided e-learning about Challenge 25 and refusing proxy sales for independent retailers


CAP Chairman Derek Lewis comments :The first Community Alcohol Partnership in Scotland was launched nine years ago in Edinburgh. Its mission and that of the further 12 partnerships launched since then has been to reduce alcohol consumption among young people, and thereby reduce the harms to health, wellbeing and local communities caused by underage drinking. These statistics show that our partnerships are having a significant positive impact on local communities.”


Clive Johnson, from Trading Standards in Edinburgh, a CAP partner comments:

The CAPs set up in Edinburgh have allowed me to develop relationships with other agencies and individuals especially the Community Police Officers which means that I am able to target my work towards traders who are not complying with their legal obligation around underage drinking. Coordinated work and joint interventions with others in the CAPs over the years have seen an improved level of compliance and an improvement to the quality of life in local communities and I hope that these partnerships continue to develop and grow into the future.


“One of the biggest benefits of CAP is the enthusiasm of all the different agencies and partners working together to make a difference. From trading standards to youth providers, local and national retailers to schools and our young people, it is great to see so many groups working in partnership. Education and engagement with young people, parents and retailers has been at the forefront of the Southeast Edinburgh Community Alcohol Partnership and without this partnership approach we would not have been able to get our message out to so many people,” said Sgt Barry Mercer, from St Leonards Police Station in Edinburgh.


PCs Ania Morrison and Lauren Mitchell from North East Edinburgh CAP commented:

“Underage drinking is a very complex issue to address, having various contributing and enabling factors as well as far reaching consequences, not just for the individuals but also, the community. CAP has been invaluable in terms of the resources it has at its disposal. These, combined with the funding opportunities and the experience of its coordinators gained since CAPs conception in 2007 allowed us to achieve tangible results in terms of reducing the volume of Anti-social Behaviour type reports to Police in Edinburgh.


The report can be viewed here



For media information, contact: sam@communityalcoholpartnerships.co.uk tel: 07977 144 719


Notes to editors:


About Community Alcohol Partnerships:


Community Alcohol Partnerships (CAP) is a Community Interest Company (CiC) which brings together and supports local partnerships of councils, police, retailers, schools, health providers and community groups across the UK to reduce alcohol harm among young people, improve their health and wellbeing and enhance their communities.

Local CAP partners will typically include police, trading standards, relevant local authority departments such as public health, licensing, community engagement and youth services, schools, local charities, housing associations, resident associations and alcohol retailers/licensees.


Each local CAP partnership is supported by a small head office team and a regionally based Adviser who supports local partnerships who choose and deliver their own uniquely tailored action plans. Action plans will always be determined by local partners but generally include objectives around education, positive activity and retail training and signage to prevent underage and proxy sales.

Funding for CAP CiC is provided by alcohol retailers and alcohol producers who share our concerns about the harm of underage drinking. However, CAP’s work is entirely independent of these funders. Local CAPs receive additional funding from a wide variety of sources, including community funds and regional grants.


For more information see: www.communityalcoholpartnerships.co.uk

News and Blogs

CAP acts as a great catalyst to broaden community safety partnership working. The involvement of retailers and others to take personal responsibility for their communities can introduce different thinking and innovation to effectively resolve local issues that impact adversely on people’s lives.

Chief Inspector David Pennings
Northamptonshire Police

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