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Underage drinking blamed on parents, ACS poll shows

Published:  23 July, 2008

Parents and the police - not shops and supermarkets - are chiefly responsible for under-age drinking, according to a new poll carried out for the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS).

The GfK NOP survey indicates that 54% of people think parents should take most responsibility for the problem.

More than a quarter (26%) singled out the police as being most responsible, while only 9% identified shops and supermarkets and being chiefly to blame.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: "It is very important to keep a handle on what people think, and not simply on what the national media and politicians portray as the public's view.

"The most emphatic finding from this polling exercise is the sense of parental accountability for underage drinking. This is a message that the Government should listen to.

"What our research also shows is that the public aren't fooled by the Government's persistent attacks on our sector in the media. Sooner or later the Government is going to have to confront what the public know is the biggest cause of the problem.

"More needs to be done to educate parents and bring light to the real issue of proxy purchasing, along with ways of dealing with the problem of violence and abusive behaviour towards shop staff."

Other results of the poll showed that 64% of people believe that their community does not suffer from underage street drinking, but that 54% felt that retailers could do more to tackle this problem.

Lowman continued: "Retailers must not be complacent. Our focus has to remain on every store implementing a No ID - No Sale policy, asking everyone who looks under 21 for proof of age, and training staff rigorously to eradicate underage purchases."