Zero tolerance on teenage drinkers in Witney
Police in West Oxfordshire seized 100 cans and bottles of alcohol from under 18s during December alone as part of their zero tolerance approach to underage drinking.
Police officers and Police Community Support Officers confiscated 19 alcopops, 77 cans of cider and lager and four bottles of spirits.
Area Commander Chief Inspector Dennis Evernden said: “While I was pleased to hear yesterday’s announcement from the Home Secretary Jacqui Smith that enforcement action will be stepped up regarding underage drinking, I would like to report that my Neighbourhood Police Teams in West Oxfordshire have regularly been stop checking under 18s for the past three months. Anyone caught either drunk or in possession of alcohol have their parents telephoned to collect them and referred to the alcohol awareness workshops run by the Community Safety Partnership.”
Thirty-five referrals have been made so far and 20 adults and 12 teenagers have attended the workshop. A further 15 are scheduled to attend the next workshop this month.
In the three months since these operations started running West Oxfordshire has seen a 17% reduction in violent crime (63 less incidents) and none of the under 18s caught with alcohol have re-offended.
During the alcohol awareness workshop, parents are given a presentation by the Schools Officer, PC Simon Collins, and shown the educational DVD entitled ‘Wasted Nights’. The attendees are also asked to fill out a survey to evaluate its effectiveness. This has shown that:
- 27 out of 32 (84%) were more aware of the impact underage drinking has on crime and disorder and public services
- 30 out of 32 (93%) felt more confident to speak to their child/parent about alcohol
- 10 out of the 12 teenagers who attended felt they would change the way they behaved
Cllr Jill Dunsmore, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Communities at West Oxfordshire District Council said: “The partnership approach to underage drinking is ongoing in West Oxfordshire and the last three months has shown that it is working. While it is disappointing to see hundreds of cans and bottles of alcohol seized from our teenagers, it is good to hear the positive feedback from parents and the young people who attended the workshops and to see the results in falling violent crime figures.”
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