A drive to deter adults from buying alcohol for minors will see its latest campaign launch this month across Scotland.
The ‘It’ll Cost You!’ programme is a collaboration between Police Scotland, local authorities and alcohol producers and retailers and aims to raise awareness of the damaging effects and criminal nature of buying alcohol for under 18s.
Asking an adult to buy alcohol for under 18s is one of the most common tactics used by young people to access alcohol, according to police.
It’s an offence in Scotland for an adult to buy or attempt to buy alcohol for someone who is under the age of 18. This is known as proxy purchase.
A series of successful pilots by the Scottish Alcohol Industry Partnership across Lanarkshire, Edinburgh and Glasgow, results consistently showed a drop in street drinking and anti-social behaviour.
Police Scotland analysts also reported that youth disorder incidents reduced by 10% in the North Lanarkshire pilot.
The campaign also contributed to a 51% reduction of reports of children drinking on the street.
Adults who buy alcohol for children may face a fine of up to £5,000. Depending on the circumstances you could also face a prison sentence of up to three months and a criminal record.
Police Scotland’s Superintendent Claire Dobson from Partnerships Preventions and Community Wellbeing Division said: “’It’ll Cost You’ is a really important campaign that looks to address the various risks to young people associated with them gaining access to alcohol.
“The collaborative approach is aimed at reducing the harm caused by the sale or purchase of alcohol to anyone under the age of 18 including health, wellbeing and the number of youth-related offences that occur, particularly during school holidays and weekends and reflects the joint commitment of all agencies involved to keep young people safe from harm.
“Please remember, that buying alcohol for those who are underage is a criminal offence and could result in a fine, a prison sentence, or both.”
Government minister for victims and community safety Siobhian Brown said: “I welcome the latest “It’ll Cost You” campaign helping to create safer communities for all. A key objective of the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 is the protection of children and young people from harm.
“The results of the pilot, and the 2022 national campaign to tackle underage drinking and youth disorder, show what can be achieved through strong collaborative working in communities.
“The Scottish Government is committed to protecting young people and children from harm – who are particularly vulnerable to the effects of alcohol, whether drinking themselves or being impacted by the consumption of others. Of course, underage drinking can also cause short and long term harm to health and introduce young people to dangerous situations.”
Luke McGarty, Scottish Grocers’ Federation, added “Tackling underage drinking and anti-social behaviour linked to alcohol is one we support and ties in with SGF’s position of promoting responsible community retailing.
“Previous experience with the campaign has shown the benefits to local communities when we work across sectors to tackle the issue of alcohol harm. We look forward to working with the campaign over the coming summer months.”
Grahame Clarke, Community Alcohol Partnership Advisor for Scotland, said: “Community Alcohol Partnerships (CAP) Scotland was delighted to be a partner in focussed activity in each of our CAP areas. The campaign gave us an opportunity to carry the “It’ll Cost You” resources and messaging in local communities, highlighting the dangers of buying alcohol for young people.
“We look forward to working with Police Scotland and the Police Scotland Youth Volunteers to make sure that this messaging is carried through all our engagement activity this summer.”