Supermarkets In Edinburgh will help train other retailers as part of a “highly innovative” scheme that aims to curb underage drinking.
A new campaign that aims to tackle the problem in the Capital is being launched today.
The East Edinburgh Community Alcohol Partnership (CAP) aims to educate people about the impact of alcohol abuse.
Sainsbury’s and Scotmid Co-operative have agreed to train other licensed stores on responsible selling practices as part of the scheme, which will also includes alcohol education seminars for children and their parents.
Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said the initiative would “undoubtedly play a huge part in tackling underage drinking and anti-social behaviour”.
One of the campaign’s priorities is to reduce opportunities for under-18s to purchase alcohol, with the City of Edinburgh Council, trading standards and Police Scotland all working with local retailers, schools and youth groups to examine this issue.
Miles Beale, chief executive of Community Alcohol Partnerships, said: “Locally-tailored partnerships, which recognise that retailers and licensees are an important part of the solution have been shown to be highly effective in driving down harm.”
He stated: “I am delighted at the launch of a flagship CAP for Scotland in East Edinburgh. Community Alcohol Partnerships are a tried and tested way of driving down underage drinking and creating better, safer and friendlier neighbourhoods.”
Mr MacAskill said: “The work of the East Edinburgh CAP will undoubtedly play a huge part in tackling underage drinking and anti-social behaviour, and I am delighted that such a wide range of partners are involved.
“Alcohol misuse is a scourge on communities across the country and costs Scotland £3.6 billion a year as well has having a terrible knock-on effect on families and communities.
“Initiatives such as this promote responsible behaviour in young people and deter underage drinking, which will all ultimately contribute to a safer, stronger and healthier Scotland.”
John Lee, of the Scottish Grocers’ Federation, said they were “delighted to be involved in the East Edinburgh CAP” and added: “We believe this is a highly-innovative approach to tackling alcohol-related problems in our communities.
“What makes the CAP approach so effective is that it puts retailers at the heart of the partnership and sees them very much as part of the solution.
“This is an outstanding opportunity for local retailers to demonstrate their commitment to responsible retailing and their willingness to work proactively with key agencies in the community.”
Superintendent Matt Richards, from Police Scotland’s Edinburgh division, said: “To reduce underage drinking, we need to work together with those who sell alcohol to better understand the problems they face and try to deal with them.
“The knock-on effects of binge drinking to individuals and local communities can be severe, and together we can bring about a change in attitudes and behaviour.
“The East Edinburgh CAP recognises that by working together and with the wider community, including the local youngsters and their parents, everyone can make a difference.”