Alcohol Abuse

Home Department written question – answered on 13th July 2004.

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Photo of Professor Ross Cranston Professor Ross Cranston Labour, Dudley North

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans his Department has to introduce additional measures to tackle underage street drinking in residential areas; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Hazel Blears Hazel Blears Minister of State (Home Office) (Policing, Security and Community Safety)

The Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategy for England, published on 15 March recognises the importance of tackling underage drinking.

The Government have strengthened the legal framework preventing the sale of alcohol to under-18s, and introduced a clear set of options for tackling under-age drinkers including fixed penalty notices for drunk and disorderly behaviour by 16 to 17-year-olds and antisocial behaviour orders. We need to make sure that these existing powers are used effectively.

The alcohol misuse enforcement campaign was launched on 8 July and will run throughout the summer. The police and trading standards officers will use a variety of tactics to clamp down on those selling alcohol irresponsibly, including 'sting' operations sending under-18s into off-licences to buy alcohol. Underage sales will also be addressed through the forthcoming social responsibility scheme for alcohol retailers.

The Government have strengthened the powers available to tackle the particular problem of underage street drinking. Section 155 of the Licensing Act 2003 came into force in September 2003 and extended police powers to confiscate alcohol from young people drinking and causing a nuisance in public places, allowing for the confiscation of sealed containers as well as open containers.

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