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Retailers launch Challenge 25 alcohol scheme

15 January
09:02 2009

Retailers are today launching Challenge 25 in an effort to beat proxy purchasing of alcohol for children by adults.

Under the scheme, people aged below 25 but over 18 will have to produce photo ID, if asked, in order to buy alcoholic drinks from retail stores.

The off-trade industry claims the introduction of Challenge 21 has been successful and there have been fewer cases of underage sales.

Home Office minister Alan Campbell said: “I hope every retailer will adopt these new guidelines and continue to confront anyone they believe to be underage or buying alcohol for under 18s.

“We recognise that the majority of retailers take their responsibilities seriously, refusing to sell alcohol to around 1.5million underage children every month, and are determined to continue working with them to tackle the problem.

“We will shortly consult on a new mandatory code of practice for alcohol retailers setting out tough new licensing conditions to help tackle alcohol-related crime and disorder.”

The comments come after the Association of Convenience Stores said that the perception retailers are irresponsible and sell drinks to children must be changed.

Chairman of the Retail and Alcohol Standards Group Nick Grant added that the industry had never been “complacent” and that’s why the new measures are being enforced.

“Feedback from frontline staff suggests they want the freedom to challenge more widely to ensure young people are not breaking the law, either attempting to purchase alcohol for themselves or for others who are under 18.

“Challenge 25 makes this a reality and raises the bar,” he said.

However, the British Beer & Pub association said Challenge 21 remains the best policy for the on-trade.

The government proposed harsher penalties for binge drinkers towards the end of last year.

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