News item

First Community Alcohol Partnership launched in North West

The first Community Alcohol Partnership in the North West has been launched in the East Wallasey area.

Community Alcohol Partnerships (CAP’s) are aimed at reducing young people’s access to alcohol, building on work already undertaken by Wirral Council’s Trading Standards service and Merseyside Police.

CAP’s have been successfully trialled in a number of areas around Britain, including London, Durham and Shropshire. The East Wallasey CAP will focus on Seacombe and New Brighton, and is aimed at cutting incidents of underage alcohol sales and promoting responsible drinking.

Cllr Bill Davies said: “The Community Alcohol Partnership is another example of close partnership work at a community level between Wirral Council and our partners at Merseyside Police and with local residents. Alcohol is one of the most serious, if not the most serious problem that blights communities, and tackling underage sales and educating people about its dangers is key to our strategy in making Wirral a healthier and safer place to live.”

The CAP will see a number of agencies working together and sharing best practice, including Wirral Council’s Trading Standards service, officers from the Council’s Children and Young People’s Department, Merseyside Police, and local retailers. The project is backed by Community Alcohol Partnerships CiC.

The project will inform and advise young people on sensible drinking limits and help local communities to tackle alcohol-related problems. Work will also focus on breaking down the barriers between retailers, publicans and enforcement agencies, and involving parents and young people from the community in the process.

Chief Inspector Nick Gunatilleke, said: “I am pleased to announce this new initiative by Wirral Council and its partners. To reduce underage drinking, and to promote responsible 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 CAP will build on our successful programme of enforcement and preventative activity, such as the business training given to independent retailers.”


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For further information contact Nick Glover, Press and PR Officer, Wirral Council, 0151 691 8209.


1. What are Community Alcohol Partnerships?

Community Alcohol Partnership (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 and what’s the target?

There are now over 32 CAP schemes operating in 15 counties across England & Scotland With new CAPs recently launched in Derry, Northern Ireland, Brecon in Wales and the first one in London (Islington), CAP is now truly UK wide.

The aim is to expand the number of CAPS and extend their remit beyond underage purchase and possession of alcohol to cover wider issues of alcohol misuse.

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?

Initial results from the St. Neots pilot in Cambridgeshire in 2008 were highly positive with incidents of anti social behaviour dropping by ten percent over the pilot area and by 45.8 percent in one of the main hotspot areas.

The Kent partnerships starting in 2009 were assessed by a team from Kent University who found that the pilot areas saw a 28% reduction in criminal damage, a decrease 6% higher than the figure for the non-pilot areas. In Edenbridge there was a striking 43% fall and in Thanet a 36% fall.

In 2011 two schemes in Barnsley achieved reductions in alcohol related anti social behaviour in excess of 30%.

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