Delyn MP David Hanson has welcomed the news that fewer pubs and off-licences are persistently selling alcohol to children thanks to strict penalties, tough enforcement and positive efforts by the industry.
The results of the national Tackling Underage Sales of Alcohol Campaign (TUSAC), during which 2,683 premises were targeted by police and trading standards officers during a 10-week campaign between 4 May and 13 July 2007, show that in nearly 9,000 test purchase operations children were only able to obtain alcohol in 14.7 per cent of cases.
Only 22 premises (0.8 per cent of premises targeted) sold alcohol to children on three separate occasions.
The figures signal a further improvement in the test purchase failure rate since national enforcement campaigns began three years ago.
In 2004, the overall test purchase failure rate was 50 per cent. In 2006, it had dropped to 20 per cent. In this latest and more targeted campaign it now stands below 15 per cent overall.
Whereas earlier enforcement campaigns were conducted on a random sample of premises, good and bad, this campaign targeted premises known to be problematic. A further reduction in the failure rate is therefore particularly encouraging.
David Hanson said:
“These figures are very encouraging and show that the Government’s efforts, working alongside its enforcement partners, are making a positive difference. The efforts of industry must also be recognised as they have made strong attempts over recent years to educate staff on the front line and strengthen procedures.
“The ‘Challenge 21’ policy is now established as standard practice across the industry. However, there is still room for improvement and we must work hard to make sure the sales stop, full stop.
“The Government’s new alcohol strategy campaign, released this summer, outlined how the new laws and licensing powers will be used to bear down on irresponsibly-managed bars, pubs and off-licenses, at the same time as giving everyone the information they need to drink safely and responsibly.”