A year ago when there were some test purchases made in Harlow, over 30% of the tests were failed – that means that about 1 in 3 shops tested sold alcohol to under 18’s.

Now any councillor will tell you that lots of their mailbag/email inbox of complaints is based around rowdy young people on street corners and associated anti social behaviour. Often it appears as though alcohol is involved. So this is an issue that concerns us all very much.

In that last year Harlow’s Community Alcohol Partnership has been established, bringing together the experts from Harlow Council’s Safety and Licensing Team and the Council’s Community Safety Team working with both the Police and Essex County Council’s Trading Standards supported by the Councillors on Harlow Councils Licensing Committee under the leadership of Cllr Nick Churchill (pictured) and Cllr Sarah Dangerfield the Chairman and Vice Chairman.

The results?

Alcohol sales to underage drinkers are falling in Harlow according to the latest test purchasing figures. The rate of test purchase failure has plummeted like a stone from over 30% to 11% in the last year, which is now better than the county wide target of 15%.

This is a real success for collaborative working between the County and District Council’s and the Police, and my thanks for all the hard work goes to all those involved.

But the hard work does not stop there…..

For the coming year the team will be trying to ensure that the 11% does not slip, continuing to educate and warn retailers and now to target those who illegally buy alcohol for those underage.