New measures against teen binge drinking target parents

Parents could soon face penalties if their children persistently flout underage drinking laws, according to press reports.

The plans are expected as part of the Government’s Youth Alcohol Action Plan, a new drive to address the problem of binge drinking among young people.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said: “Groups of under-18s drinking in public are an all too familiar sight. This type of drinking increases youth antisocial behaviour and crime, puts young people in vulnerable situations and I want to put a stop to it.”

“Parents must play their role, too,” she continued. “I want to see a greater use of parenting orders and antisocial behaviour contracts when young people are caught persistently drinking in public.

“If parents and children need to meet a trained worker to get them back on the right track, then so be it.”

However, Conservative Shadow Home Secretary David Davis criticised the plans: “Parenting orders were first piloted in 2000, yet we have little evidence of whether they’ve made an impact.

“These measures are no substitute for robust law enforcement, strengthening families and restoring discipline in schools. We need action across all of these levels to fix our broken society.”

Colin Hart, Director of The Christian Institute, said: “The Government could make a start in tackling the problem by resversing its policy of licensing 24-hour drinking.”

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