New initiative to tackle underage drinking

OUTDDOR DRINKING IN PETERHEAD COULD SOON BE A THING OF THE PAST.(BUCHAN/BROWN)
OUTDDOR DRINKING IN PETERHEAD COULD SOON BE A THING OF THE PAST.(BUCHAN/BROWN)

Grampian Police in conjunction with Aberdeenshire Alcohol Drug Partnership and Barnardo’s Scotland have developed a new pilot initiative aimed at helping young people make positive life and health choices in relation to alcohol use in Aberdeenshire.

The Alcohol Brief Interventions (ABI) initiative has been funded by the Alcohol and Drug Partnership and has allowed for the employment of an ABI worker for 15 months who will be available to talk to young people who seek information, help and guidance in relation to alcohol use.

The initiative has been developed so that every young person under 18 years of age found by police officers under the influence of alcohol or in possession of alcohol will be offered voluntary referral to the ABI worker who will later contact the young person and arrange to meet them to discuss their alcohol use and provide direction, help and support to make positive life choices.

Inspector Kenny Coutts, Community Safety, Aberdeenshire Division said: “This initiative will allow police officers to offer young people referral to a partner agency service to provide help and support to address their health and life choices.

“This is not, in any way, an alternative to prosecution for any offences that may have been committed and we will ensure appropriate letters are sent to young people or their parents regarding their behaviour.

“It will however allow young people to have some support to understand their actions and receive help from a trained counsellor in an experienced organisation like Barnardo’s Scotland.

“I hope that this partnership can allow us to intervene early in young people’s behaviour and allow them to make themselves healthier and safer.”

John Cummings, chair of Aberdeenshire Alcohol Drug Partnership (ADP) added: “The pilot will provide an opportunity for constructive engagement with young people in relation to important health issues while also making a contribution to impacting on anti social behaviour.

“We look forward to seeing and evaluating the outcomes of this piece of innovative work.”