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 bnl A Community Alcohol Partnership scheme designed to crack down on under-age drinking and anti-social behaviour in Great Yarmouth has been launched on Wednesday 11th April, at the same time as extra funding will be made available for the TS Warrior Naval Cadet Corps to give local youngsters the chance to develop their skills and find jobs.

Baroness Newlove, the Chairman of the Community Alcohol Partnership (CAP) joined the Communities Secretary Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP, local MP Brandon Lewis and Norfolk County Councillor, Harry Humphrey, to launch the CAP scheme. They also viewed first-hand the TS Warrior Naval Cadet Corps Scheme which, through volunteers, provides hands on experience, accredited learning sessions and certified courses to children and teenagers within Great Yarmouth to help them get jobs in the local maritime based industry.

As part of the overall scheme to tackle alcohol abuse, the CAP has given £10,000 of funding – combined with £5,000 from Great Yarmouth Borough Council, £5,000 from the Community Safety Partnership and £5,000 from Norfolk County Council Trading Standards – to a diversionary cadet scheme which offers training to help match skills to local industries in an area of high unemployment and where academic attainment at school leaving age has traditionally been low.

The scheme seeks to enter partnership with a range of local agencies, both voluntary and statutory, (set out below) to tackle both the anti-social behaviour nuisance of alcohol and to offer an alternative activity through the cadet training scheme.

Areas around the town centre, the sea front and St George’s Park will be the focus of action to tackle the nuisance created by young people – both over and under 18 – of drinking alcohol in public places, such as drink related litter and vandalism. 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 in the area. In addition, there are currently pockets of anti-social behaviour created by adult street drinking and the Great Yarmouth CAP will look at making this culturally unacceptable and diverting people to the necessary support agencies.

Seeking to bring a variety of agencies together, including local retailers, youth services, trading standards, police, schools, charities and other departments within Great Yarmouth Borough Council and Norfolk County Council, the CAP scheme will focus on three main elements, education, enforcement and public perception:

  • Education – will target three groups. All local retailers will be offered free training by Asda, Tesco and Sainsbury about the sale of alcohol, particularly using the ‘challenge 25’ scheme; the Matthew Project, NORCAS and Crimestoppers will seek to reach young people in schools and youth clubs about the health effects of alcohol; adults will be approached through leaflets and information about the law relating to proxy purchasing pointing out that 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 and the ACSOs will patrol areas for under-age drinking with alcohol confiscated and parents informed; intoxicated young people will be taken home; young people with second offences will be invited to an alcohol workshop with their parent or guardian and a third offence may face prosecution. Proxy purchases will be punished with £80 on the spot fines or prosecuted.
  • Public perception - a great deal of emphasis will be placed on community reporting, but will also include questionnaires (before and after the CAP launch), an assessment of police intelligence, crime reports and anti social behaviour reporting.

Baroness Newlove said: I have been delighted to see the tremendous work CAP schemes have done to help reduce the harm and anti-social behaviour associated with under-age drinking across the country. I am particularly pleased that in Great Yarmouth we are able to combine our efforts with an enormously worthwhile alternative offering young people the skills they need to get a good job and prosper in life. I feel strongly our young people need adult guidance as they mature, and giving them something to aspire to, which this scheme does.”

Brandon Lewis, MP said: “I’m pleased to see a tough approach to alcohol induced anti-social behaviour is being combined with a diversionary scheme for young people to get skills and training that could lead to a good local job. I would like to congratulate everyone who has been involved in setting up this fantastic scheme.”

Duncan Boyne, Chairman TS Warrior Cadets, said: “We are trying to encourage our young people to keep out of trouble and have something to look forward to in life. We’ve been trying for two years to raise the money and this will make a tremendous difference to the number of people we can help”.

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Alcohol-related violence has fallen – but it is clear that alcohol misuse has a significant impact on young people and their communities across the country and partnerships such as this are an effective way to tackle this issue. Easy access to alcohol can sometimes put young people at greater risk of dangers. CAPs play a vital role in bringing key stakeholders together to tackle underage drinking, helping to keep young people and communities safe.

Dame Vera Baird QC
Victims Commissioner

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