Proxy purchases clamp down

Warning messages were put on the pavement near stores selling alcohol
Warning messages were put on the pavement near stores selling alcohol

A campaign to reduce the number of adults in North Lanarkshire who buy alcohol for under 18s has resulted in 84 offences being detected over a four-month period.

The campaign was jointly co-ordinated by the Scottish Government Alcohol Industry Partnership (SGAIP), the North Lanarkshire Community Safety Partnership and Police Scotland.

The offences included 49 adults in the Motherwell and Wishaw areas being charged with buying alcohol for children and nine premises being reported for selling directly to under 18s.

The campaign, which included pavement graffiti, social media, in-store signage and increased police patrols, has resulted in 23 times as many offences being detected compared to the previous 12 months.

The knock-on effect on local crime figures has been significant: street drinking detection offences since the campaign started have dropped by 20 per cent; violent crime is down 30 per cent; reports of antisocial behaviour have reduced by 13 per cent (490 less incidents compared to the same period last year); reports of disorder have reduced by 15 per cent; youth disorder down 10 per cent in July, August and September; and alcohol related disorder is down 21 per cent.

Inspector Alistair Anderson at Police Scotland said: “This campaign has been a considerable success, not just in achieving the campaign aims but also by making alcohol less accessible to children and reducing the risk of harm to them.

“By cracking down on purchases we have seen an improvement in crime statistics. Local officers will remain just as vigilant over the forthcoming festive period, and the weeks in between.

“In addition to the 84 offences detected, we know that the campaign has had a positive knock-on effect by deterring purchases.

“With less alcohol in the hands of under 18s, there’s a reduction in anti-social behaviour, violence and disorder in the area compared to the same period last year.

“There is no doubt that underage drinking contributes to antisocial behaviour, crime and violence in our local communities and it will not be tolerated.”

Buying alcohol for anyone under the age of 18 is a criminal offence which carries a fine of up to £5,000 or up to three months in prison, or both.