[P]olice and partners in Barrow are coming together in a new initiative designed to tackle underage drinking and associated anti-social behaviour.
Barrow will become the first area in Cumbria to adopt a Community Alcohol Partnership (CAP) when it is launched at The Forum on Thursday (January 19th).
Driven by the South Cumbria Alcohol Strategy Group, the CAP will bring together police, Cumbria County Council, Barrow Borough Council, schools, local retailers and licensees in a bid to crack down on the issue.
CAP is a national model which puts education, enforcement and business engagement at its core.
Barrow Inspector Matt Pearman said: “Like many large towns, unfortunately Barrow sees cases of young people drinking too much at the weekend.
“As well as causing health problems and increasing hospital admissions, this can also be associated with anti-social behaviour which effects the wider community.”
A large part of CAP activity will be educational, with a workshop for licensees kicking off the partnership at the launch on Thursday. There will also be talks arranged to take place in schools.
Inspector Pearman continued: “It is important to educate the licensees and retailers about challenging those under 25, to limit the access that youngsters
have to alcohol.
“However, it is also important to education those young people in the hope we can impact them early to prevent them misusing alcohol not only while they are underage, but in later life too.
“Along with our partners we have a responsibility to make sure that Barrow and the surrounding area is a safe place to live and socialise, and it is hoped that the
CAP will enable us to come together further to ensure this remains the case.”
Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner Peter McCall said: “This is great news, and an excellent example of how we can all work together for the benefit of our communities. I fully support any initiative that will help tackle problems caused by alcohol misuse, and indeed, this is one of the objectives in my police and crime plan. Not only does this prevent crime but it will also help improve the health and lives of our young people.”
Public Health Locality Manager at Cumbria County Council, Lesley Graham, said: “Alcohol related harm is a significant problem in Barrow and in recognition of this, reduction in harm from alcohol is one of Barrow Health and Wellbeing Forum’s priorities. It is about education around responsible drinking, particularly with our young people who are just starting on their life journey, so the Community Alcohol Partnership initiative is very much welcomed in that respect.”
Chair of the Licensing Committee at Barrow Borough Council, Cllr Tony Callister, said: “The CAP is a great example of partnership working, responsible authorities, retailers and interested parties coming together to tackle local problems around underage drinking.
“Education is key, we need to improve young people’s attitude towards alcohol, restrict their opportunities to access alcohol whilst underage and signpost them to other activities available in the Borough. I fully support an initiative that strives to improve the health and well-being of young people in our Community.”