Alcohol and Young People

Worcestershire DAAT

Frequently asked questions

Q: Can I give alcohol to my child?

Medical advice is that an alcohol-free childhood is the healthiest and best option. If children do drink alcohol, they should not do so until they are at least 15 years old. If 15 to 17 year olds drink alcohol it should be rarely, and never more than once a week.

It is against the law to give any child under 5 years old an alcoholic drink except under medical supervision in an emergency. It is also illegal to be drunk in charge of a child under 7 in a public place or on licensed premises.

Q: What does the law say about young people buying alcohol?

It is illegal for anyone under 18 to buy, or attempt to buy, alcohol in a pub, off-licence, supermarket or other licensed outlet or registered club.

It is also illegal for anyone to buy alcohol on behalf of someone who is under 18. This includes parents or carers buying alcohol on behalf of their child or a child in their care.

The only exception to this law is that an adult can buy beer or wine for a young person of 16 or 17 to drink with a meal in licensed premises (e.g. pub or restaurant). In this case the alcohol must be bought by the adult who is accompanying the young person.

Q: Can the police stop young people drinking?

Police have powers to confiscate alcohol from under 18's in a public place, or from an adult in a public place who intends that the alcohol is drunk in public by someone under-18.

Q: What about the sale of alcohol to young people?

It is also against the law to sell alcohol to someone who is under 18.

Q: What can I do about our local off-licence – I've heard that they sell alcohol to young people?

Contact Worcestershire Regulatory Services (WRS) by emailing or calling 01905-822799. WRS can act on information received and carry out test purchases, as well as advising and taking action against premises selling alcohol to young people.

Further information

Help and advice are available on the Drinkaware website