Page last updated at 11:00 GMT, Friday, 2 May 2008 12:00 UK

Pilot booze ban hailed a success

Youth drinking
The scheme's aim has been to cut down on anti-social behaviour

A 50% fall in calls about vandalism and assault has been recorded following a ban on sales of alcohol to under-21s in a West Lothian area

A pilot, which has been running in Armadale, Blackridge and Westfield, for six weeks has been hailed a success.

Every off-sale retailer in the area signed up to the new scheme, meaning anyone who looked under the age of 25 had been asked for identification.

There has also been a 57% reduction recorded for assaults.

In addition, statistics show a 55% reduction in calls from residents in the area to police about youths.

Over the six week pilot there were 35 calls about vandalism in the area, which is a 54% reduction.

There were six calls about assaults, which is a 57% reduction compared with the same period last year.

We thought youths would maybe go to other towns to buy alcohol but officers and youth workers on the ground have said this doesn't seem to be the case and that the youths in the area seem to be very territorial
Ch Insp Jim Baird
Lothian and Borders Police

Ch Insp Jim Baird, of Lothian and Borders Police, said the raw statistics would need to be analysed further.

He said: "While this data is superb, we have been doing other things in the area, which could have affected the results, for instance our safer neighbourhood scheme, which has been running for the last 12 months.

"I am cautiously optimistic and very encouraged by the statistics but we need a professional analyst to look at the data.

"We thought youths would maybe go to other towns to buy alcohol but officers and youth workers on the ground have said this doesn't seem to be the case and that the youths in the area seem to be very territorial."

Peter Johnston, West Lothian council leader, said: "We chose Armadale specifically because it is a fairly self-contained area and young people could go outside to buy drink.

"We don't think that has been happening and it is interesting that during the pilot two of the neighbouring villages, Blackridge and Westfield, were added so there is no evidence to suggest that people were getting out of the town to buy alcohol."


SEE ALSO
Town bans under-21 alcohol sales
28 Mar 08 |  Scotland
Town warned over binge drinking
28 Mar 07 |  West Midlands

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