Tags tackle underage drinking

A pilot scheme that has started in East Kilbride is using invisible tags on alcohol bottles that are popular with teenagers in a bid to reduce the number of underage drinkers in South Lanarkshire.

Feb 8, 2007
By David Howell
Chief Constable Andy Marsh

A pilot scheme that has started in East Kilbride is using invisible tags on alcohol bottles that are popular with teenagers in a bid to reduce the number of underage drinkers in South Lanarkshire.

The bottles are marked with a tag that contains the postcode of the store that sold the drink. The tags can be read via ultraviolet light.

Officers are working with off-licences and community wardens to tackle the problem as part of the Safer Scotland initiative.

Superintendent Ron Buchanan, sub-divisional officer for the area told the Herald: “We are targeting the types of alcohol we know young people go for. This project means we can gather intelligence on where they bought the alcohol and how they got hold of it.”

Last September more than 11,000 pints of alcohol was seized from young people drinking in the streets. Approximately 40 per cent of calls made to Strathclyde are related to youth disorder offences.

Superintendent Graham Cairns, head of social inclusion at Strathclyde said: “Young people do most of their drinking outside their homes in uncontrollable circumstances. Not only can this be very dangerous from a personal safety perspective but it can often lead to youth disorder.

“We have tackled this issue under the Safer Scotland campaign and the forthcoming test purchase arrangements will strengthen our hand further in dealing with this.

“We recognise there is no quick fix to young people drinking alcohol and to achieve a sustainable solution we must work with licence holders, health partners, councils and voluntary organisations to provide better outcomes not only for young people but also for our communities.”

The pilot has seen a reduction in youth disorder offences, anti-social behaviour and vandalism.

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