Police to target youth drinking in Ripon

An initiative to reduce problem drinking will help tackle antisocial behaviour in Ripon.

By Janet Harrison
Thursday, 31st March 2022, 2:25 pm
Ripon Market Place Picture by Gerard Binks Photography
Ripon Market Place Picture by Gerard Binks Photography

North Yorkshire Police announced this week that officers will use a mix of tactics, including test purchases in the city to prevent sales of alcohol to children.

They will also do intervention work to prevent under-18s drinking and education to help young people understand the risks.

The work will be delivered through a Community Alcohol Partnership (CAP) which will see police working with retailers, schools, neighbourhood groups, Trading Standards, local authorities and other emergency and health services.

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The move comes as part of North Yorkshire Police’s response to concerns raised by residents about antisocial behaviour, underage drinking and other crime linked to it.

Community alcohol partnerships have recently been launched in other parts of North Yorkshire, including Richmond and coastal communities.

Ripon CAP joins more than 240 areas nationally where CAPs have been introduced.

The force state that they have led to a 61 per cent reductions in weekly drinking by teenagers, a 50 per cent drop in young people hanging round shops and asking adults to buy alcohol, and a 42 per cent decline in anti-social behaviour involving drink.

PCSO Helenor Gwatkin, who is leading the launch for North Yorkshire Police, said: “We’re listening to residents’ concerns about antisocial behaviour in Ripon and we’re addressing them in several ways.

“Our targeted patrols are one part of the solution, but the community alcohol partnership allows us to focus on prevention and early intervention.

“This stops issues from arising, reduces offences and helps educate young people to make better choices.

“CAPs have been very well supported in other parts of North Yorkshire and I am confident the initiative in Ripon will be just as well received.”

Police will team up with youth services and other local organisations to provide alcohol-free activities for young people and with local schools to take a proactive approach to alcohol education.

Trading Standards and police will arrange test purchases from local shops and will work with retailers to raise awareness of what they can do.

Kate Winstanley, Director of Community Alcohol Partnerships, said: “I am delighted to see the launch of a CAP in Ripon.

“Underage drinking is associated with school and educational problems, unprotected sex, drug-taking, violence and drinking problems in later life.

“In just over a decade CAP has set up more than 240 partnerships around the UK and our evaluations show they are having a significant impact on reducing children’s alcohol consumption, improving their health and wellbeing and enhancing the communities where they live.”

Ripon CAP will officially launch on Wednesday April 6.