Compulsory under-21 ID checks proposed

By Emma Eversham

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Drinking culture

The Challenge 21 scheme could be made compulsory as part of government plans to tackle under-age drinking

All pubs and bars could be forced to operate the Challenge 21 initiative in the future under government plans to stop under-age drinking.

The Youth Alcohol Action Plan, released today, focuses principally on ways to crack down on under-18s drinking unsupervised in public, but the industry will also be expected to make changes.

Currently the Challenge 21 initiative, which requires bar staff to check ID†for anyone who appears to be under-21, is voluntary, but the government wants it to be adopted everywhere and is also planning tougher penalties for those who sell alcohol to minors.

Instead of two warnings, pubs and bars that fail test purchases will now only have one before being prosecuted.

Ed Balls, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, said: "Tougher enforcement powers are needed to tackle under-age binge drinking but enforcement measures alone are not the solution. We need a culture change about drinking with everyone from parents, the alcohol industry and young people all taking more responsibility."

In the plan the government said it was looking at making the trade`s Alcohol Social Responsibility Standards document "mandatory".

The document, released in 2005, sets the standards for alcohol retail including a sensible drinking message, responsible marketing and ensuring that retailers don’t sell to under-age or intoxicated customers.

What are your thoughts on Challenge 21? Is it easy to enforce or is it hard to know when to ask customers for ID? Let us know your thoughts by clicking the "Add Comment" button below.

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