UK: Retailers launch Challenge 25 policy to combat underage sales

15 January, 2009
The UK's major retailers are stepping up measures to combat attempted purchase of alcohol by and for under 18's with the launch of Challenge 25.

The UK's major retailers are stepping up measures to combat attempted purchase of alcohol by and for under 18's with the launch of Challenge 25.

Challenge 25 will force all those over 18 but under 25 to carry photo ID if they wish to purchase alcohol.

The new threshold is also designed to assist efforts to combat proxy purchase - where young adults purchase alcohol on behalf of underage friends.

The new signage in red and black adds a fresh and striking look and makes it clear that under 25s must now expect to be challenged to prove their age. It also spells out the heavy fines which could follow for those caught breaking the law.

Nick Grant, Chairman of RASG, said: "Retailers have done much to reduce levels of underage purchase but we've never been complacent and it's time to go a stage further.

"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."

Welcoming Challenge 25, Home Office Minister Alan Campbell said: "The Challenge 21 scheme has already proven itself to be an effective tool to combat underage drinking so 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"

Simon O'Brien, theAssociation of Chief Police Officers' lead on Licensing, said: "There has been some very good work with the industry to reduce sales of alcohol to young people and we are just now in the middle of an ongoing campaign, backed by the Home Office, to ensure we are enforcing legislation in this area and concentration will be on those traders that cannot get their houses in order.

"It is also interesting that senior figures from the on and off sales part of the industry have been pre briefed on the latest campaign and have given it their full and practical support.

Digital Edition

Drinks International digital edition is available ahead of the printed magazine. Don’t miss out, make sure you subscribe today to access the digital edition and all archived editions of Drinks International as part of your subscription.


La'Mel Clarke

Service isn’t servitude: the skill of hosting

La’Mel Clarke, front of house at London’s Seed Library, looks at the forgotten art of hosting and why it deserves the same respect as bartending.