POLICE will lead an innovative scheme over the summer holidays that aims to reduce alcohol-fuelled crime and anti-social behaviour among young people.
As part of Alcoholwatch, officers from Hartlepool Police will place tamperproof stickers on bottles of alcohol in licensed premises in the town.
These stickers contain a unique code that links the alcohol to where it has been bought from.
When officers come across young people in possession of alcohol, they can check the bottles and work with the licensee to identify if there are any issues around under-age teenagers obtaining alcohol from them.
Response officers and the police licensing team will all work on the scheme, which will run until August 31, under the banner of the Safer Hartlepool Partnership, alongside partners including Hartlepool Borough Council.
Hartlepool is the first district in Cleveland to pilot the initiative. But it has proved to be successful in other areas across the country in clamping down on under-age drinking.
Alcoholwatch forms part of a wider strategy to reduce related incidents and supports work such as test purchasing operations.
Chief Inspector Kath Prudom, of Hartlepool Police, said: “This scheme will help us to paint a better picture of where young people get their alcohol from and gather intelligence to nip it in the bud.
“Previously officers would rely on youngsters for information on where they obtained it, but they would be extremely reluctant and sometimes give wrong information.
“Alcoholwatch is an innovative scheme and is a positive addition to the work that is taking place already in the town to reduce under-age drinking.”
Ian Harrison, from Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “Under-age drinking and the anti-social behaviour it can bring affects communities and is a priority for many residents who look to the town’s partner agencies for resolutions.
“It also can affect the young people themselves by causing devastating health implications. Alcoholwatch looks to break the cycle of under-age drinking by getting to the heart of where they obtain their alcohol and disrupting the supply so that the opportunity is not there for them to create problems.”