A new scheme designed to crack down on alcohol related anti-social behaviour and under-age drinking is to be launched in Hastings on Friday 22nd June.
The initiative has been co-ordinated by the Hastings Community Alcohol Partnership (CAP), which brings together a variety of agencies including Safer Hastings Partnership, East Sussex County Council services, Hastings Borough Council, Sussex Police, local retailers, charities and local media.
Seeking to tackle alcohol-related anti-social behaviour amongst young people – both over and under-18 – the scheme will focus on three main elements: education, enforcement and public perception.
- Education – training all local retailers about the sale of alcohol, particularly using the ‘challenge 25’ scheme; educating young people through schools and youth clubs about the health effects of alcohol and targeting adults with information about the law relating to proxy purchasing where people can be prosecuted for buying alcohol on behalf of someone under the age of 18.
- Enforcement – following the training phase, tests will be made among retailers as to the robustness of their systems (with further advice offered where necessary); police will patrol areas for under-age drinking with alcohol confiscated and parents informed; intoxicated young people will be taken home. On the spot fines may be issued to adults found purchasing alcohol on behalf of under 18s.
- Public perception - the scheme will run for six months and then be evaluated against the same period last year with perception audits carried out before and after through Facebook, local outlets and surveys. The project is encouraging the local media to act as a portal by raising awareness, communicating progress and reporting the work to tackle alcohol misuse and anti-social behaviour.
There will be a focus on adults and young people drinking alcohol in public places and becoming involved in anti-social behaviour, vandalism and drink-related litter in the areas around Central St Leonards, Castle Ward (Town Centre) and Old Hastings Ward (Old Town). In particular, the initiative seeks to address the problem of young people being able to procure alcohol through proxy purchasing and from home supplies, which is believed to be a key part of the problem.
Local Hastings and Rye MP, Amber Rudd and a number of local councilllors are backing the initiative, and will attend the launch of the scheme on 22nd June at a Licensing Seminar at the Town Hall. The Licensing Seminar has been organised by Hastings Borough Council’s Licensing Manager Bob Brown with a view to update licence holders with the major changes to the Licensing Act 2003 that are being introduced this year.
Councillor Kim Forward, Lead Member for Community Safety at Hastings Borough Council, said: “We need to work together to solve the problem of alcohol abuse by both the under and the over 18s in Hastings and the Community Alcohol Partnership scheme where a variety of agencies all play their part to manage the problem has to be the right way forward. We want to see adults and young people drinking responsibly and minors only able to access alcohol under responsible and informed supervision.”
Amber Rudd MP said: “I am delighted to support this initiative. It will not only help young people to tackle their harmful use of alcohol, but also help the community which currently suffers the consequences of this alcohol abuse. I look forward to the results of the evaluation in the autumn and wish it every success.”