Police in Leith have launched a new partnership initiative to tackle the issue of proxy purchasing – where adults purchase alcohol for under-18s.
As part of Operation Savana local officers are working alongside the Scottish Alcohol Industry Partnership (SAIP) and City of Edinburgh Council to raise awareness on the risks and penalties associated with buying alcohol for anyone under the age of 18.
If caught committing this offence you could face a fine of up to £5,000, three months in prison, or both and police are keen to ensure that parents, guardians and everyone else is fully alert to these consequences.
During the campaign, a digital advertising screen will be on display on Leith Walk at Shrub Place Lane, warning the public about the police action that could be taken if they are found to be involved in proxy purchasing.
In addition to raising awareness, Operation Savana also looks to encourage communities to come forward and report proxy purchasing and to give confidence to shop staff to challenge anyone they suspect of buying alcohol for underage drinkers.
The initiative has been launched after a similar project involving Police Scotland, SAIP and North Lanarkshire Council proved extremely successful last year.
Chief Inspector Kevin McLean, Local Area Commander for North East Edinburgh said: “We currently believe that the issue of proxy purchasing is under-reported within the Leith area and one of the key aims of this campaign is to ensure the public contact police if they witness someone buying alcohol for minors.
“We also want people to know the penalties they could face, should they be caught committing this offence. To assist with this, a large digital billboard on Leith Walk will display the campaign’s messages.
“I would urge all members of our Leith communities to take notice of this initiative and help us reduce antisocial behaviour and disorder offences in the area by reporting incidents of proxy purchasing and by refraining from purchasing alcohol for anyone under the age of 18.”
Community Safety Leader, Cllr Cammy Day, said: “Alcohol consumption can cause young people to take more risks than they normally would, and as well as impacting their health and making them more vulnerable, this can also lead to anti social behaviour or violence.”