An initiative aimed at curbing underage drinking in the Glen and Rosemount areas of Derry is proving to be a success, organisers say.
Launched in January of this year, the Challenging Underage Drinking Initiative involves the statutory, community and business sectors, and is led by Derry City Council’s Civic Alcohol Forum.
Karen Philips, programme manager for the Civic Alcohol Forum, says the project has involved a range of measures including high visibility patrols, engagement with young people and visits to discuss proxy buying - buying alcohol for someone underage - with local retailers.
She says early indications suggest the initiative is proving successful - and that the problems have simply not just moved to another part of the city.
“Since the pilot scheme has been put in place there has been a downward trend in the amount of alcohol litter found in some of the areas with the Rosemount and Glen areas and statistics show that there was a marked reduction in referrals to youth diversion officers during the summer period of 2011 – (114 for the April to September period in 2010 as compared to 40 for the same period in 2011) showing us that the PSNI had less need to report underage drinkers this year compared to last year.”
She says the project continues to be a work in progress.
“We are conscious that there are still problems and that there is much more work to be done, however we are very pleased with the project to date and will continue to develop the project and will update on progress again soon”
Ray Wilson, PSNI Neighbourhood Sergeant says the initiative has improved the quality of life for local residents.
“We are more than happy with the results of this pilot project. We firmly believe that this has been down to the multi-agency approach and the hard work put in by all the partners.
“This is a success story for the residents of the pilot area,” he says.
Further developments planned include a ‘mind your mate’ initiative involving teenagers, to raise the issue of safety when they are out at night, and a training course for parents.