Spalding Community Alcohol Partnership launched by big-name shops, politicians and police
Retailers, business, church and political leaders have joined police in signing a new deal aimed at tackling under-age drinking in Spalding and South Holland.
Spalding Community Alcohol Partnership (CAP), officially launched on Tuesday, is a joint effort to make people aged between 11 and 25 aware of both the short and longer-term effects of alcohol abuse.
Inspector Gareth Boxall, South Holland sector neighbourhood policing inspector, said: "Spalding CAP is a different approach to tackling under-age drinking and anti-social behaviour associated with it.
"It is a new partnership with the common aim of reducing the drinking of alcohol amongst young people."
Among those at the launch were shop managers from Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Lidl, representatives from Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue, South Holland District Council, drug and alcohol charity Addaction, and Spalding and District Chamber of Commerce.
Ex-Spalding policing sergeant Stuart Brotherton, now co-ordinator of Business Watch Spalding and Holbeach, said: "The encouraging thing about CAP is that whilst we’re predominantly targeting young people, we’re also widening the age scope because when you look at the issues concerning alcohol in the community, a lot of it involves those aged between 18 and 25."
Spalding CAP will work alongside other initiatives designed to reduce under-age alcohol drinking, such as Challenge 25 which encourages shopkeepers and store staff to ask young people who are over the age of 18 for identification when buying alcoholic drinks.
It is also founded on research by the Lincolnshire Research Observatory in March 2016 which found that more than 17,000 people across Lincolnshire consider themselves to be "dependent drinkers", with more than 106,000 people "drinking at a level that is an increasing risk to their health".
Alan Simpson, CAP advisor for eastern England and Scotland, said: "In relation to Lincolnshire, the first CAP was created in Boston nearly three years ago and it's had a great deal of success in reducing anti-social behaviour.
"Then it was felt that the next place for CAP to look at was Skegness where a good job is also being done.
"Now that our partners across Lincolnshire are recognising the benefits of CAP, the next place to bring people together is Spalding."
The new partnership also has backing from MP Sir John Hayes who, in a statement, said: "Our brave police officers are challenged by changing and complex crimes that require a multi-faceted and thoughtful response.
"Often, this means being reactive when officers are the first to attend the scene of a crime.
"However, it is equally important to be proactive which is why the work of Spalding CAP could not be more important.
"It will allow policemen and women to become known and respected in their communities, dedicated to the deterrence of crime and disorder before it takes place.
"Innovative projects such as these will ensure that more young people are prevented from abusing alcohol, thereby enabling them to fulfil their true potential."