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Community Alcohol Partnership Launched in Tunbridge Wells

Community Alcohol Partnership (CAP) schemes are set up to tackle underage drinking and the resulting harm to young people and the communities they live in.

A new CAP for Tunbridge Wells was launched at the ice rink in Calverley Grounds on Friday 15 November 2019. Speaking at the launch were Gillian Walters, CAP Adviser responsible for South East England; Terry Hughes, Community Safety Manager; Chief Inspector Peter Steenhuis, Kent Police and Mayor of Tunbridge Wells, Councillor James Scholes.

Developing a responsible approach

The invited audience heard that enforcing the laws relating to young people and alcohol, developing a responsible retailing approach, education and promoting the Challenge 25 scheme are among the aims of the CAP in Tunbridge Wells.

A number of young people from local secondary schools teamed up with KCC Early Help and Kenward Trust to produce a short film that was played at the event. The powerful film looked at the issue of underage drinking from their point of view.

Reducing vulnerability

Terry Hughes said: ‘We know through work done by Kenward Trust Outreach Workers and others that young people are attracted to public spaces in Tunbridge Wells town centre where they gather in numbers during the early to late evening. Some drink and some choose to cause anti-social behaviour and criminal damage.

Perhaps more importantly young people drinking are harming themselves and putting themselves at risk. Risk-taking behaviour coupled with alcohol use in public places leaves them vulnerable. This vulnerability is what we’d like to reduce. This is an important issue and it should be important to parents too.

Those responsible for selling alcohol to young people will be held accountable

Chief Inspector Peter Steenhuis said: ‘This initiative brings businesses and communities closely together to raise awareness of the impact of alcohol on young people. The Tunbridge Wells Community Safety Partnership, licensing officers and town centre teams will continue to work with retailers to ensure those responsible for selling alcohol to young people will be held accountable.

CAPs are managed and delivered locally through a partnership between local authorities, police, retailers, schools, neighbourhood groups and health providers.

The Tunbridge Wells Community Safety Unit is responsible for coordinating the CAP and they are working with representatives from local licensed businesses including retailers, schools, Kent Police, youth services and charities. A working group is being set up to look at the day to day operation of the CAP.

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