§ Mr. Butler
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proposals he has to control drunken behaviour amongst young people.
§ Mr. Hurd
The Government entirely accept the importance of this issue. That is one reason why we set up the ministerial group on alcohol misuse under the chairmanship of my right hon. Friend the Lord President of the Council. The Licensing Act 1988 tightens the offence of selling alcohol to under-age drinkers, increases the penalties for those found guilty of doing so and makes it an offence for wholesalers to sell alcohol to people under 18. We hope that these measures will increase the number of successful prosecutions for offences connected with under-age drinking.
Action has been taken on two recent reports to the Home Office standing conference on crime prevention which made proposals for dealing with this problem. Successful pilot schemes based on the recommendations of the 1986 working group report on violence associated with licensed premises have taken place in several towns. Progress in implementing the recommendations of the 1987 working group report on young people and alcohol was reported by my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State in reply to a question from my hon. Friend the Member for Romsey and Waterside (Mr. Colvin) on 26 April at columns 85–86.
The recent ACPO survey of disorder in non-metropolitan areas, carried out in consultation with the Home Office, confirmed the police view that much disorder is drink-related. We are considering urgently with the police the problems they have in dealing with this sort of disorder and what measures, including the wide dissemination of the results of successful crime prevention schemes, can best be taken to help the police tackle them.