25 June 2008
Police in Bedwas are working with local off-licences in an effort to limit the availability of alcohol to young people under the age of 18.
Local shops have set up an Off-Licence Watch, which is believed to be the first of its kind in Gwent. They will operate the Challenge 21 scheme; staff will ask customers who appear to be under the age of 21 for identification before making a sale of alcohol.
Reducing anti-social behaviour, including underage drinking, is currently a PACT (Partnerships and Communities Together) priority in the Bedwas, Trethomas and Machen ward as well as in the St James ward.
Local residents have identified that some young people taking part in underage drinking on local streets, often go on to take part in anti-social behaviour or commit criminal damage, whilst under the influence of alcohol.
The local Neighbourhood Policing Team and Caerphilly county borough council's Trading Standards Department have been working with the off-licences and local community in an effort to reduce the number of ways that underage drinkers obtain alcohol.
Bedwas Neighbourhood Policing Sergeant Kevin Childs, said "We fully support the introduction of the Bedwas Off-Licence Watch by the licensing trade, as part of our commitment to work in partnership to prevent the supply of alcohol to underage drinkers. The new scheme will hopefully make it more difficult for underage drinkers to buy alcohol.
"However, we also need the support of the community. I would appeal to all adults, parents and guardians not to buy or supply alcohol to young people under the age of 18. Please think about where they are drinking the alcohol, who they are with and what they are going on to do once they have consumed it. Some young people are taking part in anti-social behaviour and criminal damage which impacts upon the community and could get them in serious trouble."
Owner of the Bedwas General Store, Mr Xiaojian Liu, said "We always try our best to check ID and make sure that people buying alcohol are over the age of 18. I think is a great scheme because we have the full support of the local police and the local council, and we feel confident in asking people who look under the age of 21 for ID."
Caerphilly county borough council's Trading Standards and Licensing Manager, Jacqui Morgan said "I very much welcome the introduction of this excellent scheme that aims to significantly limit the availability of alcohol to young people in the local area. As well as the many negative health implications that drinking excess alcohol can have, underage drinking, on occasions, can inevitably lead to acts of anti social behaviour being committed, which is completely unfair to local residents.
By working in partnership with Gwent Police, we are really taking a stand and by introducing this scheme, which should make it more difficult for youngsters to access alcohol, we hope to do just that."
The next PACT (Partnership and Communities Together) meeting for the St James Ward will be held on Thursday 26 June at St James Primary School.
If you would like to speak to a member of the Bedwas Neighbourhood Policing Team about any local crime or disorder issues, then please contact them on 02920 857454.
Please note this is a voicemail box. Please leave a message and an officer will return your call.
To contact Caerphilly council's Trading Standards Department, please call (01495) 235291.
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