POLICE Scotland has been forced into an embarrassing climb down in its war on drink-fuelled, violence after being threatened with court action over Buckfast.
The national force has apologised after officers encouraged some retailers not to sell the tonic wine. It promised also that it would not include Buckfast in “bottle marking” schemes without “reasonable grounds” for doing so.
Bottle marking is used to help police trace alcohol linked to crime, disorder or underage drinking back to the shop it was bought from.
However, J Chandler & Company, the distributor of Buckfast, said it was discriminatory against the brand and had taken Strathclyde Police to the Court of Session in a case inherited by Police Scotland following merger in April.
The two sides reached an out-of-court settlement, without damages being paid, but only after Police Scotland issued a “very sincere” apology and made a series of concessions.
Graeme Pearson, Scottish Labour justice spokesman and a former assistant chief constable in Strathclyde, said: “It’s disappointing that Police Scotland have backed down and made an apology to the makers of Buckfast, as the court case would have clarified the position for the future in this matter.
“The link between caffeinated drinks and crime has been proven in numerous studies, both in the UK and abroad, and more needs to be done to tackle the impact that these products have on our communities.”
A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: “We can confirm that there has been an amicable settlement between Police Scotland the owners of Buckfast.”