Licensing minister James Purnell, who is working with the Home Office in tackling underage sales, singled out the Society’s leaflet campaign “What sort of person buys alcohol for a child?” as a prime candidate for a possible national rollout. The Buckland Partnership Alcohol Concern Project, developed by Southern Co-operative in partnership with Portsmouth City Council and Hampshire Police, involved sending leaflets to residents in the Buckland area of Portsmouth, to inform them about the dangers of alcohol abuse among minors and to point out that buying alcohol for those underage is illegal.
Leaflets are also handed out every time alcohol is bought. The Society and its involvement in the scheme was recently honoured by C-Store’s sister publication OLN at its Responsible Drinks Retailing Awards.
Southern Co-operative loss prevention manager Gareth Lewis said: “It was clear that there was a lack of awareness among adults that supplying alcohol to anyone underage was illegal. There is no excuse in the Buckland area for not having that knowledge now, and we are in talks with Portsmouth City Council to roll the scheme out further.” The need for a nationwide information campaign was also higlighted with the results of a survey by the Portman Group. It showed that 32% of adults had been asked to buy alcohol on behalf of someone under 18. More than a third admitted to carrying out the request. The survey also found that 38% of those who purchased alcohol for under 18s said that they had done so at a c-store.
As a result, the Portman Group will distribute 100,000 posters and window stickers to c-stores, supermarkets and pubs, stating that “proxy purchasing” could result in an £80 on-the-spot fine.