A NEW initiative to tackle underage drinking is being launched in parts of Wallasey.
The Community Alcohol Partnership (CAP) will see Wirral Council, police and shopkeepers work together to help to reduce young people’s access to alcohol.
The scheme will be the first of its kind in the North West.
Initially focusing on Seacombe and New Brighton, the East Wallasey CAP will aim to cut underage alcohol sales and promoting responsible drinking.
The project will inform and advise under-18s on sensible drinking limits and help communities tackle alcohol-related problems.
According to the council, work will also focus on “breaking down the barriers between retailers, publicans and enforcement agencies”.
It will also seek to engage parents and young people from the community in the process.
Wirral Cllr Bill Davies welcomed the launch of the CAP, claiming it would be crucial to making the area a “healthier and safer place to live”.
He 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 residents.
“Alcohol is one of the most serious, if not the most serious, problem which 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 official agencies working together, including Wirral council’s Trading Standards service, officers from the council’s children and young people’s department and Merseyside Police.
The East Wallasey CAP will also involve schools and health networks.
In practice, if retailers or local authorities become aware of problems in a store they would share this information with their partners and work with them to solve the problem.
There are 32 CAPs currently in operation across the UK and initial results have been positive.
Criminal damage and alcohol related anti-social behaviour has dropped in some areas where CAPs have been set up.
Chief Inspector Nick Gunatilleke is optimistic people in east Wallasey will see the benefits of the CAP.
He 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.”
For more information on Community Alcohol Partnerships visit www.communityalcoholpartnerships.co.uk