Nearly 40,000 children have been fined, cautioned or taken to court for alcohol-related offences in the last five years.
The number has increased by over a quarter in that period, according to research by the Liberal Democrats. The key points are:
- 39,714 people aged under 18 were fined, cautioned or taken to court for alcohol related offences between 2003 and 2007
- This includes 124 children aged 10 to 12 and 6,111 aged 13 to 15
- The number of under-18s fined, cautioned or taken to court for alcohol related offences has increased by 28.4% from 6,764 in 2003 to 8,686 in 2007
- The number of 13 to 15 year olds being cautioned has increased by 17.4% and the number of 13 to 15 year olds being taken to court has increased by 19.9% in the same perio
Commenting, Liberal Democrat Shadow Home Secretary, Chris Huhne said:
“These figures paint a shocking picture of how many children are being dragged into the criminal justice system through alcohol abuse. The problem appears to be growing worse by leaps and bounds.
“Ministers talk a lot about the alcohol crisis in this country but have completely failed to tackle it.
“Unless we change our drinking culture, we will condemn many of these children and adolescents to serious long-term alcohol-related illnesses or a life of crime.
“We must put an end to alcohol being sold at pocket-money prices and start educating our children about the dangers of drink or these figures will continue to get worse.
“Rather than more posturing, the Government should enforce a strict policy that those who sell alcohol to under-age children will lose their licence.”