Yob behaviour falls as community tackles underage drinking

Youngsters drinking.
Youngsters drinking.

EFFORTS to tackle issues around underage drinking in Hartlepool has led to a cut in yobbish behaviour, according to a report.

The Community Alcohol Partnership has seen a fall in incidents of anti-social behaviour linked to young drinkers in the town’s Manor, Foggy Furze and the Fens and Rossmere areas.

The alcohol partnership was formed in July 2012 to spearhead activities aimed at reducing youth boozing in Hartlepool and challenge a widespread acceptance by parents of underage drinking in public places.

A review of the partnership’s achievements and its future is due to be discussed by the Safer Hartlepool Partnership when it meets on Monday.

In June 2013, the local alcohol partnership aligned itself with the National Community Alcohol Partnership giving access to nationwide expertise, publicity materials, and links with bodies such as the National Retailers’ Association which funds the national CAP scheme, and the Alcohol Education Trust. The partnership developed an action plan for Hartlepool.

It included priorities around enforcement to reduce alcohol being sold to under 18s, raising public awareness among young people of the health risks and promoting the Challenge 25 identification scheme among retailers.

Louise Wallace, Hartlepool’s director of public health, said in a report: “There has been positive progress throughout the operation of the Community Alcohol Partnership within all sections of the action plan.

“This has been undertaken with support from partners across Hartlepool with targeted work to address the issues identified at the start of the pilot.” Between April 2012 and June 2014 incidents of anti-social behaviour related to young drinkers reduced from 19 to 34 in the Fens/Rossmere ward.

They fell from 118 to 80 incidents in Manor House ward and from 61 to 53 in Foggy Furze.

But the report added some areas of the action plan have not been as successful as planned progressed at the level initially intended, such as Challenge 25 training to off-licence workers which is offered through the council’s licensing department.

And test purchasing for underage sales already takes place across the town based on intelligence and action is taken where needed.

Funding for the Community Alcohol Partnership was originally allocated from an Early Intervention Grant which has come to an end.

But it is recommended that the work of the alcohol action plan is incorporated within the Safer Hartlepool Partnership’s Substance Misuse Plan.