Alcohol retailers are being urged to help drive down underage drinking by supporting the Community Alcohol Partnerships (CAP) scheme.

The CAP scheme brings retailers, local authorities, police, schools, neighbourhood groups and health providers together to empower communities to tackle alcohol-related harm to young people and improve the quality of life for residents.

The first CAP was set up in St Neots in 2007 and 162 have now been launched across the UK. So far CAPs have offered training and support to more than 1,300 licensed premises, most of which were independent retailers. The majority achieved 90-100% pass rates in Challenge 25 compliancy tests following training.

“What makes the CAP approach so effective is that it puts retailers at the heart of local partnerships and regards them as a vital part of the solution,” said Kate Winstanley, Community Alcohol Partnerships director. “Being part of CAP is one of the most effective ways of demonstrating your status as a responsible alcohol retailer and commitment to reducing underage drinking and anti-social behaviour. Stores that engage with CAP tend to see significant reductions in confrontations in store and abuse of staff, so there are also significant operational benefits to working with local partners to tackle these problems.”

According to CAP’s 2018 annual report, those involved in these innovative partnerships have noticed a 60% reduction in weekly drinking for 11-15 year olds, a 40% reductions in youth alcohol-related anti-social behaviour, 85% reduction in seizures of alcohol from under 18s drinking in public and a 41% reduction in attempted ‘proxy purchase’ where adults buy alcohol on behalf of children.

Last year CAP announced ambitious plans to double the number of CAPs around the country and extend its remit to provide continued support as children become young adults.