Tackling young drinkers

UNDERAGE drinkers will be seeing red and yellow if they are caught by the authorities under a tough new scheme in Bassetlaw.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 21st September 2011, 9:01 am

The Red Card Project is a partnership with the NHS, the police and Bassetlaw Council, which aims to tackle the dangers of underage drinking.

Parents could soon be hit with fines, and made to attend workshops with their children if they are caught drinking in ‘hotspot’ areas.

“A lot of young people see drinking as a bit of fun and are unaware of the wider issues such as the effect on their sexual health,” said Coun Ian Campbell, the council’s young person’s champion.

“By giving them and their parents access to youth workers and specialist nurses we can work together to highlight the risks of alcohol to their health, wellbeing and future life chances.”

The scheme will work using red and yellow cards as a symbol of how serious the offence is.

Police officers, PCSOs and council anti-social behaviour officers will target underage drinkers in so-called hot spot areas.

Anyone under-18 found with alcohol will have is confiscated and be given a yellow card.

Officers will then visit their home within 48 hours and offer parents a choice of a £40 fine or to attend an educational workshop with their child.

Step two involves a red card. If the same young person is found with alcohol again, a red card is sent to the parents with another fine order and a letter explaining the next stage.

Step three, if the youngster is found drinking again, would see an anti-social behaviour contract issued.

Support will also be offered through referral to other services.

A recent study shows underage drinkers are more likely to take part in smoking, drug use, truancy, anti-social behaviour and sexual activity.

The Red Card Project seeks to highlight the risks of alcohol and associated behaviours to young people and their parents.

The educational workshop focuses on wider alcohol-related issues like sexually transmitted infections, teen pregnancy, violence and the longer term health effects.

The authorities say evidence from similar projects in other areas have shown most young people who get a yellow card do not go on to receive a red card.

Sonya Clark, health improvement project manager at NHS Bassetlaw said:

“Rather than just confiscating alcohol, this project seeks to underline the risks and consequences of drinking to young people and their parents.”

“By working with the police the council’s ASB team, parents and young people we can tackle the dangers of underage drinking in a much more robust manner.”