South West Wales

Community tackles underage drinking in Pontardawe

Young person drinking Image copyright Thinkstock

Underage drinking and anti-social behaviour is being tackled in one community by bringing police, local shopkeepers and community groups together.

The Community Alcohol Partnership in Pontardawe, Neath Port Talbot, will be the second of its kind in Wales.

It aims to cut access to alcohol and offer teenagers positive alternatives.

A similar scheme begun in Brecon in 2012 saw youth alcohol-related incidents drop by nearly 40%.

One of the campaign priorities is reducing the opportunity for young people to buy alcohol.

Staff in local shops have been given training on spotting fake ID and using the "Challenge 25" policy of questioning anyone who appears to be under the age of 25.

It will also target parents, following a recent survey showing they are the most likely provider of alcohol to underage drinkers.

Police and Crime Commissioner Alun Michael, who is leading the project, said: "It's a problem in many communities across South Wales and I believe passionately that the solutions have to be owned locally.

"The knock-on effects of irresponsible drinking can be severe and together we can bring about a change in attitudes and behaviour."

The campaign is launched at Pontardawe Arts Centre on Tuesday.

Sgt Jayne James, from the local neighbourhood policing team, said: "We see the impact under-age drinking has on young people and the wider community and this is a positive response to tackle the issue through education and enforcement."

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