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Successful Campaign to Continue in 2023

23 May 2023

evaluation report 2022 document

A successful campaign to reduce street drinking and disorder will be rolled out to more towns and cities across Scotland.

The “It’ll Cost You” campaign to deter adults buying alcohol for minors was developed by the Scottish Alcohol Industry Partnership, Police Scotland and Community Alcohol Partnerships. It ran throughout the summer of 2022 and was the first time the campaign had been delivered nationally. The campaign was a mix of social and traditional media and direct consumer engagement in targeted areas across Scotland.

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.

An evaluation of the summer 2022 campaign showed it was an effective way to communicate the consequences of buying alcohol for minors and demonstrated the benefits of partnership working between retailers and Police Scotland.

Community Alcohol Partnerships will also utilise the campaign in areas where it operates in Scotland to help reduce alcohol harm among children and young people.

Superintendent Hilary Sloan, Police Scotland, said:

“We welcome the evaluation report into last summer’s It’ll Cost You proxy purchasing campaign.

“Protecting vulnerable people is one of our top priorities and this includes protecting young people from the associated risks of alcohol. We know that vulnerability increases when alcohol is a factor and this vulnerability is heightened in young people.

“This campaign showcases the benefits of key partners working together and utilising each other’s resources to inform the public of dangers associated with underage drinking, as well as the criminal consequences for supplying those under 18 with alcohol. Proxy purchasing is an offence, which can result in a fine, a prison sentence, or both. Please do not risk it. “I look forward to continued working with our partners to build on the campaign’s success in 2023” 

Luke McGarty, Chair of the SAIP Campaigns Group and Head of Policy and Public Affairs, Scottish Grocers Federation said:

“We welcome the publication of the evaluation report and the key learnings from delivering the “It’ll Cost You” campaign nationally for the first time. Reducing underage drinking and anti-social behaviour linked to alcohol is one we support and ties in with SGF’s position of promoting responsible community retailing. We will continue to work with the campaign going forward.” 

Graham Clarke, Community Alcohol Partnership Advisor for Scotland, said:

“Community Alcohol Partnerships (CAP) was delighted to be a partner in the “It’ll Cost You” campaign and to support activity in each of our CAP areas. The campaign gave CAP an opportunity to carry the "It’ll Cost You" resources and messaging in local communities, highlighting the dangers of buying alcohol for young people. We worked closely with Police Scotland and the Police Scotland Youth Volunteers to make sure that this messaging was carried through all our engagement activity and look forward to supporting the campaign again in 2023.”

Community Safety Minister Elena Whitham MSP said:

“The Scottish Government welcomed the publication of the evaluation report. We remain committed to protecting young persons and children from harm. Underage drinking can cause short and long-term harm to health and put young persons in dangerous situations when drunk. Purchasing alcohol for someone under 18 is a criminal offence, and we were pleased to support collective efforts to help reduce the attempted purchase of alcohol for those underage. The 2022 National campaign illustrated the value of strong collaboration and regular engagement between partners, which helped to deliver shared aims to help reduce underage drinking and anti-social behaviour as a key step to help keep communities safe.”

Notes to Editors:

  1. For more information contact Luke McGarty on Tel. no. 0131-370-3741, A copy of the Evaluation report can be found here.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

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