Welcome to Community Alcohol Partnerships

CAP NW Edinburgh launch with DerekA new Community Alcohol Partnership (CAP) in North West Edinburgh is set to tackle underage drinking and alcohol fuelled anti-social behaviour.

The North West Edinburgh CAP brings together a wide range of organisations and services, including Police Scotland, the City of Edinburgh Council, Schools and alcohol retailers, working together to reduce the sale of alcohol to young people, advise them on the dangers of drinking and provide alcohol-free activities through youth services and local charities.

Ben McPherson MSP for Edinburgh Northern and Leith sent a message of support to the new CAP: "Working together across all of the various sectors and organisations involved, and across different generations, I'm confident that today's launch is the start of something that I know will make a genuinely positive impact. I look forward to playing my part with you all in reducing young people’s alcohol consumption and related anti-social behaviour for the benefit of the people I represent and look forward to taking part in future events in Edinburgh Northern and Leith.”

At the launch of the new CAP at Drumbrae Library Hub, Inspector Stevie Sutherland said surveys conducted in schools suggest teens are drinking every week. He said his officers would be visiting comprehensive schools in the area to warn of the dangers of underage drinking and the CAP would also offer free training to local retailers to help them avoid selling alcohol to children and “proxy purchasers” – adults buying for underage drinkers.

“Issues can be anything from the elderly and vulnerable in the community afraid to go out because kids are hanging around outside, to vandalism and graffiti,” he said.

CAPs are a UK-wide initiative to tackle alcohol-related harm to young people and improve the quality of life for residents. The North West Edinburgh CAP is the city’s second, after a similar scheme was rolled out in East Edinburgh in 2013. The East Edinburgh CAP has seen an 18% reduction in alcohol-related crime and an 80% reduction in alcohol seizures from young people in the last three years – just one of the outstanding impacts on local crime, anti-social behaviour, litter, feelings of safety and reductions in underage purchasing of alcohol that CAPs throughout the UK have brought about.    

CAP chair Derek Lewis said: “A lot of issues relating to alcohol are specific to local areas and the CAP solution is not one size fits all – it provides a menu of approaches for local areas to choose from. Leading with young people is the right place to start because if you can influence the behaviour of teenagers then it will stay with them for life.”


Notes for Editors

  • In 2014, 38% of 11-15 year olds in England had drunk alcohol. This continued the downward trend since 2003, when 61% of pupils had drunk alcohol. 1However 4% said they drank alcohol at least once a week and a further 5% said they drank once a fortnight.2

  • Community Alcohol Partnerships (CAP) schemes are set up to tackle underage drinking and the resulting harm to local communities. All schemes are managed and delivered locally via partnerships between local authorities, police, retailers, schools and neighbourhood groups and health providers, offering a flexible model tailored to fit the needs of each community. All schemes incorporate a mixture of education, enforcement, community engagement and the provision of diversionary activities for young people.

  • CAP is a Community Interest Company (CIC), funded by major alcohol retailers and producers who share its concerns about underage drinking. Current funders include: Aldi, ASDA, ACS, Brown Forman, Co-op, Diageo, Heineken, Lidl, Marks and Spencer, Molson Coors, One Stop, Sainsbury’s, SHS Drinks, Tesco and Waitrose. We are also grateful to the Welsh Government which provided £15,000 towards the establishment of three new CAPs in Wales.

  • The first CAP was set up in St Neots in 2007. Between 2014 and 2016 the number of CAPs more than doubled and by the end of 2016 there were 124 across the UK.

1 Statistics on Alcohol, Health and Social Care Information Centre, published 30 June 2016.

2 Data intelligence summary: Alcohol consumption and harm among under 18 year olds, Public Health England, published July 2016.

Since this project was delivered there have been dramatic changes in the behaviour of many of the children. This has meant that, for example, three children who were on the verge of exclusion are now fully engaged in the life of the school. The children talk very positively about the work that they completed with CAP and the project generally.

Ridge Community Primary School, Lancaster

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