New bid to tackle under-age drinking

Coun. Thompson and Ribble Valley Borough Council partnership officer, Dilys Day, at the launch of the boroughs Community Alcohol Partnership. (s)
Coun. Thompson and Ribble Valley Borough Council partnership officer, Dilys Day, at the launch of the boroughs Community Alcohol Partnership. (s)

A crackdown on underage drinking and anti-social behaviour in Clitheroe has begun.

Ribble Valley Borough Council, Lancashire Trading Standards, the police, schools, shops and the health sector have joined together to tackle alcohol-related harm to the borough’s youngsters by reducing the sale of alcohol to them, advising them on the dangers of drinking and promoting alcohol-free activities.

The launch, at the Grand in Clitheroe, was attended by community leaders from throughout the borough and featured presentations by Kate Winstanley, director of Community Alcohol Partnerships; Dave Rogers MBE from the Every Action has Consequences charity, Det. Sgt Mark Whelan from Lancashire Constabulary’s Engage team and Robert Thompson, chairman of the Ribble Valley Community Safety Partnership.

The initiative follows concerns about youngsters congregating in the grounds of Clitheroe Castle and the Henthorn Road area of Clitheroe, while 50 per cent of shops and supermarkets tested by Trading Standards in Clitheroe recently sold alcohol to an underage volunteer.

Community Alcohol Partnerships have enjoyed considerable success across the UK tackling anti-social behaviour and reducing the sale of alcohol to underage people.

Ribble Valley Coun. Robert Thompson said: “There is growing concern about underage drinking in the Ribble Valley and I am delighted to announce the launch of this new partnership to tackle it.

“Drinking alcohol at a young age seriously risks children’s health and development and puts them in danger of physical and social harm. They are far more likely to injure themselves or someone else, fail to reach their potential at school and engage in anti-social behaviour. We are committed to making a positive difference to the lives of Ribble Valley youngsters and improving community wellbeing.”

In 2014, 38 per cent of 11 to 15-year-olds in England drank alcohol, with 4% claiming to drink alcohol at least once a week and a further 5% saying they drank it once a fortnight.

In the past, officers from Clitheroe Police have been forced to step up patrols around the castle grounds after reports of anti-social behaviour in the area. Community Alcohol Partnerships (CAPs) aim to tackle underage drinking with a mix of education, enforcement and community engagement.