East Lothian police chief warns parents that letting kids take booze 'is not a rite of passage'

Parents have been warned that allowing their children to drink alcohol is not “a rite of passage” by East Lothian’s police chief.

By Marie Sharp
Tuesday, 18th May 2021, 12:30 pm

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Following increased police patrols in teenage trouble spots, Chief Inspector Neil Mitchell has issued a joint letter with the county’s education head, urging parents and carers to take responsibility for their children’s behaviour.

And he said that youngsters drinking alcohol was not simply a part of growing up but put them at risk of harm.

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Warning for parents: Chief Ins Neil Mitchell

In the letter, Mr Mitchell and Lesley Brown, from East Lothian Council, say: “Unfortunately, both Police Scotland and council officers have recently been called out to an increased number of gatherings of young people, where alcohol is often being consumed resulting in anti-social behaviour.

“A police presence has been increased in affected areas, but officers can’t do this alone.

“This is not simply a ‘rite of passage’ or ‘part of growing up.’ We need to protect our young people from serious harm.”

While acknowledging that the vast majority of young people do behave responsibly, the letter calls on parents and carers to speak to their children about the impact of anti-social behaviour on them and others.

Officers regularly seize alcohol from teens

And it recognises the challenges young people in particular have faced over the last year and more with Covid restrictions.

It adds: “We want to reinforce the importance of responsible young citizens being safe while out and about, as well as being respectful to others.

“We would also ask that you alert the police to any issues of concern, such as the inappropriate sale or consumption of alcohol.

“By doing so, we can keep our communities safe for everyone and look forward to enjoying a fantastic East Lothian summer.”

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