‘You’re asking for it’ has made a big impact in tackling underage drinking in North Lanarkshire.
Driven by the Scottish Alcohol Industry Partnership (SAIP), Police Scotland and North Lanarkshire Community Safety Partnership, the campaign saw a surge of support from retailers, as well as parents and concerned residents in their communities.
Police Scotland analysts report that youth disorder incidents reduced by 10%. The campaign also contributed to a 51% reduction of reports of children drinking on the street.
In addition to 38 adults being reported for buying alcohol for children, the campaign also led to two stores being reported for repeatedly selling alcohol to under 18s.
These results suggest that children have found it more difficult to source alcohol as a result of the widely publicised campaign.
Divisional Commander for Lanarkshire Division, Chief Superintendent Roddy Irvine said: “The ‘You’re asking for it’ campaign is a successful approach that tackles a serious issue that affects our communities in Scotland. Underage drinking plays a huge part in antisocial behaviour, crime and violence. I would like to thank the Divisional Teams in North Lanarkshire that have gone above and beyond in engaging with the local communities. It is vital that we continue to work together to tackle this problem and make our communities safer.”
North Lanarkshire Council Leader Jim Logue said: “North Lanarkshire Council is pleased to be the first local authority in Scotland to roll out this effective proxy purchase campaign. ‘You’re asking for it’ sends a very clear message to adults that buying alcohol for children is not acceptable under any circumstances and anyone who is caught faces a fine or prison sentence. It’s important that communities continue to be vigilant on this issue to protect our young people from harm.”
John Lee, Head of Policy and Public Affairs, Scottish Grocers Federation and Chair of the SAIP Campaigns Group said: “The impact this proxy purchase campaign has is clear and the cooperation of retailers and the wider community is remarkable. Licensees are enthusiastic about the campaign as it provides a structured and supportive approach in identifying and handling cases of proxy purchasing. Reducing alcohol sales to under 18s has a significant impact on local communities, helping to improve safety, tackle crime and improve health among young people. I believe this campaign has the potential to have an even bigger impact across Scotland.”
Market research was undertaken pre and post campaign, surveying young people across North Lanarkshire. Only 1% of young people interviewed were aware that asking an adult to buy alcohol could lead to a prison sentence for the adult, whereas 60% were aware post-campaign.
The partnership behind the successful roll out is actively following a number of leads from other local authority areas that have expressed an interest in running ‘You’re asking for it’.
The Scottish Grocers Federation (SGF) is also collaborating with Police Scotland’s video production unit to develop a training resource for retailers to help them tackle the issue.