Age Restricted Products

Community Alcohol Partnership

In February 2010, Trading Standards initiated a pilot project, to create a Community Alcohol Partnership in Mid Devon. Community Alcohol Partnerships (CAPs) bring together local retailers, trading standards, police, licensing, health, education and other local stakeholders to tackle the problem of underage drinking and associated anti-social behaviour. CAPs are endorsed by the Home Office.

View our First Year CAP Report (PDF) which has been produced with our CAP partners and details the work completed during the first year of the project.

In partnership with the local community, the CAP uses a mix of education, enforcement and working to:

  • Give retailers more confidence in complying with under age sales legislation,
  • Make young people more aware of the potential harms of alcohol
  • Improve the perception of Mid Devon as a safer place to live

CAP partners were determined to work with businesses, where possible, to try and find alternative, non-enforcement approaches that would yield sustainable results. These included advice visits, provision of a ‘No Proof of Age – No Sale’ online training guide containing support materials, and licensee and employee training programmes

Under the partnership an ID bailment pilot scheme was introduced in the Tiverton area specifically to address an area of concern for the local retail trade and door staff, fake IDs. This scheme was ‘highly commended’ at the 2010 Responsible Drink Retailing Annual awards in London.

The Mid Devon CAP has been fully supported by the Retail of Alcohol Standards Group (RASG), which represents a large proportion of the major off-licence retail trade. In November 2010 an alcohol retailers meeting was attended by a number of locally based major alcohol retailers and local independents. There was a keen interest from all parties to work together towards the CAP objectives.

Keeping The Standards Up

Selling alcohol to an under age person is still an offence with a maximum fine of £10,000 and/or a premises can be shut down.  The alcohol might be being purchased for someone else also under age; this can result in a fine for the purchaser of up to £5,000.

Under age test purchasing is now only carried out with the support of intelligence about retailers actually making under age sales. Community Alcohol Partnerships, including the Mid Devon CAP above, have seen trading standards officers working with police teams, local authorities and alcohol retailers to make sure that under age sales are not being made and that young people are aware of the need to carry valid ID if they are going to purchase any age restricted product, because it will certainly be checked. Having the confidence to check this ID is crucial and forms one of the bases of a current project in Exeter.

Trading Standards has recruited 18-year-old volunteers to make alcohol purchases in the city. The volunteers will confirm whether or not they were asked for ID before making their purchase. This is particularly important in premises that display posters championing their membership of schemes such as Challenge 25 or that without proof of ID there will be no sale, which the volunteers will also report on.   Challenge 25 is a scheme that encourages anyone who is over 18 but looks under 25 to carry acceptable ID when they want to buy alcohol. Challenge 25 builds on the Challenge 21 campaign introduced by the British Beer and Pub Association, who represent the beer and pub sector, in 2005. It’s now run by the Retail of Alcohol Standards Group, which represents alcohol retailers.

Although no offences are being committed by making sales to 18-year-olds without checking their ID, where this does occur the retailer will be informed that not making these checks puts them at risk of making under age sales. This is not best practice and cannot be tolerated in a busy city, popular with young people and an attraction for families and tourists.

The project information will enable Trading Standards to work with Exeter City Council in achieving accreditation for the best practice carried out by the city’s alcohol retailers. With a large student population, the FIFA World Cup 2014 and the Rugby World Cup coming to Exeter in 2015, safety and security are paramount in making sure that visitors want to come in to spend their money; they know that they will be safe and able to enjoy themselves in a relaxed and secure environment.  Giving our retailers the confidence to play their part in this is vital; if you know of anyone that might need this or you need it yourself, please contact us for more information about getting confident with checking ID.