Press release: National campaign launched

Press release: National campaign launched

An award-winning campaign to tackle underage drinking and youth disorder has been launched across Scotland.

The “It’ll Cost You!” programme is a collaboration between Police Scotland, local authorities and alcohol producers and retailers and aims to raise awareness of the damaging effects and criminal nature of buying alcohol for under 18s.

Following a series of successful pilots by the Scottish Alcohol Industry Partnership across Lanarkshire, Edinburgh and Glasgow, results consistently showed a drop in street drinking and anti-social behaviour.

Asking an adult to buy alcohol for under 18s is one of the most common tactics used by young people to access alcohol. The Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 states that it is an offence for a person to “act as an agent for a child in purchasing or attempting to purchase alcohol”. This is also known as proxy purchase.

Police Scotland analysts report that youth disorder incidents reduced by 10% in the North Lanarkshire pilot. The campaign also contributed to a 51% reduction of reports of children drinking on the street.

In addition to 38 adults being reported for buying alcohol for children, the campaign also led to two stores being reported for repeatedly selling alcohol to under 18s.

Adults who buy alcohol for children may face a fine of up to £5,000. Depending on the circumstances you could also face a prison sentence of up to three months and a criminal record

Superintendent Hilary Sloan, Police Scotland, said:

“This campaign highlights the multitude of issues which can be caused through underage drinking and by buying alcohol for teens. We want to help keep our young people safe from alcohol-related harm, as well as reducing anti-social behaviour and crime in our communities. Additionally, proxy purchasing is an offence, which could result in a prison sentence. The lighter evenings of the summer will see an increase in police patrols around Scotland to reduce attempted purchases of alcohol for under 18s.”

Dr John Lee, Chair of the SAIP Campaigns Group and Head of Policy and Public Affairs, Scottish Grocers Federation said:

“The success of initiatives such as Challenge 25 have helped reduce the number of direct sales of alcohol to under 18s, but young people are increasingly accessing alcohol by other means. Asking an adult to buy alcohol for them is one of the most common tactics used.”

Minister for Community Safety Ash Regan said:

“A key objective of the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 is the protection of children and young persons from harm. We remain committed to protecting young persons and children from harm. Young persons are particularly vulnerable to the effects of alcohol, whether they are drinking themselves, or being affected by the drinking of other people in their lives. Underage drinking can also cause short and long term harm to health, as well as put young persons in dangerous situations when drunk.

“That is why I welcome the “It’ll Cost You” Campaign to help create safer communities for us all. The results of pilot initiatives, which the Scottish Government supported, show what can be achieved through strong collaboration and partnership working at a community level.”

Gavin Randall, Retail Operations Director, Scotmid said:

“As a responsible retailer, Scotmid is delighted to support the ‘It’ll Cost You’ proxy purchase campaign. Reducing underage drinking and anti-social behaviour linked to alcohol, fits in perfectly with Scotmid’s core purpose ‘to serve our communities and improve peoples’ everyday lives.”

Graham Clarke, Community Alcohol Partnership Coordinator said:

“Community Alcohol Partnerships (CAP) is delighted to be supporting the “It’ll Cost You” campaign. Proxy purchase continues to be a challenge across Scotland and the campaign will highlight the dangers and penalties that can result from adults buying alcohol for young people. As part of the campaign, CAP will use the “It’ll Cost You” messaging and resources to support our ongoing work within local partnerships in Scotland to reduce alcohol harm among young people, improve their health and wellbeing and enhance their communities.”


Notes to Editors:

1. The Scottish Alcohol Industry Partnership (SAIP) is a partnership of alcoholic beverage producers and representatives of the on-trade and off-trade in Scotland which includes:
Diageo, BII Scotland, National Association of Cidermakers, Molson Coors, TLT, Scottish Beer & Pub Association, Heineken, Bacardi, Pernod Ricard, The Scotch Whisky Association, Scottish Licensed Trade Association, Wine & Spirits Trade Association, Scottish Retail Consortium, Whyte & MacKay, Scottish Grocers’ Federation and The Portman Group
It provides a platform for the alcohol industry to promote responsible drinking and contribute towards tackling alcohol-related harm.
2. The pilot of “It’ll Cost You” was a retailer-focused campaign to tackle the ongoing issue of proxy purchase, which had already delivered significant reductions in crime and anti-social behaviour and was officially recognised by Police Scotland as being the project that made the ‘greatest contribution to policing priorities’ in 2015.
3. The campaign came top amongst an initial 300 applications at the inaugural Police Excellence Awards held at Tulliallan Castle.
4. The campaign is also being supported by Police Scotland Youth Volunteers who are assisting with the campaign through direct engagement.
5. The campaign continues until mid-August. The campaign message is being delivered through instore material, social media, radio ads and at events.
30 June 2022