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ACS backs Conservative alcohol stance

Published:  23 July, 2008

The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has backed Conservative Party calls for Government and police to make more effective use of their powers to tackle underage drinkers.

Shadow Home Secretary David Davis highlighted the fact that fewer than a hundred individuals a year are punished for trying to buy alcohol illegally, meaning there is less than a one in 100,000 chance of under-age youths receiving any sanction.

Davis, said: "The Government's basic failure to enforce the law sends totally the wrong message about under-age drinking and puts the public at risk from the spiralling violence it generates."

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: "We welcome these comments as they highlight a disparity that concerns us greatly. Whereas we accept that retailers will face close scrutiny and those that break the law will face serious repercussions, we cannot accept that there is no action taken against young people that show no respect for the law.

"We have been consistent in calling for greater attention to be placed on deterring young people from attempting to buy alcohol and from buying it in the street. For too long it would seem that the job of stopping young people buying alcohol has fallen solely on the shoulders of retailers.

"We have long been calling for Government, police and the wider community to provide support.

"We accept that tackling underage drinking is not solely about sanctions and punishment, but as it stands there is no sanction or punishment at all. The balance has to be redressed.

"Young people need to respect the law and those retailers whose job it is to enforce it. We are not going to see any real change to the problems of anti-social and underage drinking unless this issue is taken seriously.

"In light of this challenge from the opposition we would like to hear from Government how they can justify why these laws are simply not enforced?"