The East Edinburgh Community Alcohol Partnership (CAP) is a campaign to educate the public on the impact alcohol abuse has on our communities.
The initiative, which is the first of its kind in Edinburgh, will focus on the Portobello and Piershill areas of the city, following successful trials elsewhere in the UK.
Agencies including City of Edinburgh Council, Trading Standards and Police Scotland will join local retailers, schools and youth groups to discuss how young people gain access to alcohol and gain a better understanding of the consequences of underage drinking.
A priority for the campaign is reducing the opportunities youths have to purchase alcohol through continued dialogue between alcohol vendors and enforcement agencies.
To assist with this, Scotmid Co-operative and Sainsbury's have agreed to train other licensed stores on responsible selling practises, including the 'Think 25' identification policy and proxy purchasing.
In addition, the East Edinburgh CAP will also deliver alcohol education seminars to parents and children as well as supporting a range of diversionary activities that promote positive lifestyle choices.
Miles Beale, Chief Executive of Community Alcohol Partnerships said: "I am delighted at the launch of a flagship CAP for Scotland in East Edinburgh. Community Alcohol Partnerships are a tried and tested way of driving down underage drinking and creating better, safer and friendlier neighbourhoods.
"Locally tailored partnerships, which recognise that retailers and licensees are an important part of the solution, have been shown to be highly effective in driving down harm.
"Successful CAPs rely on the support of local stakeholders and the support of the East Edinburgh community will be vital."
Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said: "The work of the East Edinburgh CAP will undoubtedly play a huge part in tackling underage drinking and anti-social behaviour and I am delighted that such a wide range of partners are involved.
"Alcohol misuse is a scourge on communities across the country and costs Scotland £3.6 billion a year as well has having a terrible knock-on effect on families and communities.
"Initiatives such as this promote responsible behaviour in young people and deter underage drinking which will all ultimately contribute to a safer, stronger and healthier Scotland."
Superintendent Matt Richards, from Police Scotland Edinburgh Division said: "We are committed to keeping people safe and protecting the young members of our community from harm.
"To reduce underage drinking, we need to work together with those who sell alcohol to better understand the problems they face and try to deal with them. The knock-on effects of binge drinking to individuals and local communities can be severe and together we can bring about a change in attitudes and behaviour.
"The East Edinburgh CAP recognises that by working together and with the wider community, including the local youngsters and their parents, everyone can make a difference."
John Lee from the The Scottish Grocers' Federation added: "The SGF is delighted to be involved in the East Edinburgh CAP.
We believe this is a highly innovative approach to tackling alcohol-related problems in our communities. What makes the CAP approach so effective is that it puts retailers at the heart of the partnership and sees them very much as part of the solution.
This is an outstanding opportunity for local retailers to demonstrate their commitment to responsible retailing and their willingness to work proactively with key agencies in the community.
Community Safety Leader, Councillor Cammy Day, said: "Underage drinking can cause serious harm to young people and contribute to anti-social behaviour, which affects the community as a whole.
"I am very pleased that retailers are taking a pro-active stance by participating in this initiative and responding to the impact that alcohol can have on communities.
"By working closely with them and with young people, I am confident that the CAP will address this very serious problem and help to create a safer neighbourhood for all local residents to enjoy."
Notes for Editors
Interview opportunities with various members of the CAP are available from 11am. However, media may wish to come early and film opening comments etc. Anyone wishing to attend should confirm with Police Scotland Corporate Communications, Edinburgh
1. What are Community Alcohol Partnerships?
Community Alcohol Partnerships (CAP) aim to tackle public underage drinking through co-operation between alcohol retailers and local stakeholders, such as Trading Standards, police, local authority licensing teams, schools and health networks. CAP addresses both the demand and supply side of underage drinking through enforcement, education and public perception.
2. How does this work in practice?
Retailers and local authorities commit to share information on problems with underage drinking; if retailers or local authorities become aware of problems in a local store they would share this information with their partners and work with them to solve the problem.
This work goes hand in hand with joint confiscation operations between police and trading standards, in co-operation and communication with staff in the local shops, and educational sessions for pupils and parents in local colleges and schools highlighting the legal issues in attempting to purchase alcohol and raising awareness of proxy purchasing. Public awareness is reinforced through work with local media. Retailers will also work together to support each other with shared training programmes and best practice.
3. How many CAPs have there been so far?
In total, 62 CAPs have been launched since the scheme was first piloted in 2007. With the launch of the Edinburgh CAP, the scheme is now truly UK wide with new CAPs recently launched in Derry, Northern Ireland and Brecon in Wales. Twenty new CAPs are set to launch in the near future, many of which are situated in the North East and North West of England, in areas which have been identified as having ‘high harms’, and plans are underway for a number of further CAPs in Scotland.
4. What is the cost of these schemes for local authorities or the police?
Community Alcohol Partnerships are an industry funded initiative that use existing resources available to local communities, meaning they come at no additional cost to the local authority or the police. Additional resources such as educational materials and posters are provided by industry contributions so CAPs could mean a net saving for local authorities and the police.
5. What results have Community Alcohol Partnerships achieved?
Evaluation of CAP is mandatory, allowing us to continuously review and improve the model whilst at the same time provides evidence of effectiveness. CAP evaluations have consistently shown good evidence of effectiveness, as can be seen from the following examples:
- The St Neots CAP (2007) saw a 45% reduction in ASB;
- In the Durham CAP (2012), early intervention patrols resulted in a marked reduction in associated ASB (37.2%) compared to the rest of the County (8.8%);
- The Barnsley CAP (2011) saw a 30% reduction in alcohol related ASB compared with 7.4% in the control areas;
- In Islington (2011), the first inner city CAP. youth alcohol related accidents requiring the attention of the London Ambulance Service were halved during the life of the CAP and a test purchase program at the end of the training period resulted in no failures;
- In Derry (2011), referrals to youth diversion officers decreased from 114 – 4 and youth nuisance decreased by 50%