EVERY senior pupil in Edinburgh’s state schools is to be targeted in a bold new campaign aimed at cutting the number of people trying to access the capital’s nightclubs with false and fake IDs.
The ‘Is it worth it’ initiative will give every pupil over the age of 16 the opportunity to see a new short film which graphically shows the potential consequences of trying to get into clubs under age.
Led by Unight – the self-regulatory body of Edinburgh’s late night licensed premises and Edinburgh University student unions – the new scheme has the support of the Scottish Government, Lothian and Borders Police and education authorities and leading premium drinks business, Diageo.
Every fifth and sixth-year pupil in Edinburgh’s state schools will see the film in June and it will then be shown annually to future classes throughout the city.
The ‘Is it worth it’ campaign is the brainchild of former Unight chair, David Edge, who is general manager of the Opal Lounge Nightclub in Edinburgh’s George Street, who felt far too many schools pupils were unaware of the serious consequences of using false or fake identification to gain entry to the city’s nightclubs.
“While many people, including parents and older relatives, have perhaps turned a ‘blind eye’ to the process, it is now a criminal offence under the Identity Act, 2010 to use fake or false identification material,” said Mr Edge.
“As in many other parts of the UK, some under-18s found having used false identification to enter clubs and consume alcohol in Edinburgh have been the victims of crime, have caused antisocial behaviour or have been arrested, accidentally injured or on occasions hospitalised.
“Apart from any criminal proceedings, Unight excludes any person under 18 who has been caught with false or fake identification from every one of its nearly 50 member clubs and student unions for a minimum of six months after their 18th birthday.
“Anyone found supplying fake or false identification is excluded for one year.”
The campaign was initially piloted in a large Edinburgh School to all 600 pupils in fouth to sixth years. Unight members were amazed at the honesty of the children where 20 – 25 per cent of the under-18’s admitted trying to gain entry or being in a club within the previous six months.
“A smaller amount admitted they had used false or relatives’ ID to gain admittance. If these percentages were the same across all of Edinburgh’s Schools then it seemed that something urgently needed to be done to prevent all under-18’s at school from making this mistake,” added Mr Edge.
“The DVD idea came from a need to highlight this information and importantly, the consequences, to all schools in Edinburgh at the same period.
“With the assistance of Lothian and Borders Police, the Education Department of the City of Edinburgh Council, teachers in both the public and private schools in Edinburgh and the financial and other help of the Corporate Social Responsibility team at Diageo Scotland, Unight was able to ask Solo films from Glasgow to produce a high-quality cinema style DVD package which contains interactive discussion questions and answers, a teachers pack, posters, parental letters, in fact everything that a school needs to include this into their curriculum.”
The new DVD was launched at Edinburgh nightclub LuLu and there are plans to take the project to Aberdeen and other UK Cities.
Mark Baird, head of Corporate Social responsibility at Diageo, welcomed the project and added:
“Diageo is delighted to be associated with Unight and nightclub owners across Edinburgh are to be congratulated on their efforts to tackle issues such as underage access to clubs.
“We want people to enjoy alcohol responsibly, but only once they are old enough to do so.
“We are particularly proud to have supported this innovative film project, which we believe will connect powerfully with young people and make them think again about the consequences of illegally tying to gain access to nightclubs.
”Inspector Dianne Bruce, from Lothian and Borders Police, said: “As part of our ongoing work towards prevention, Lothian and Borders Police is committed to working in partnership with Unight to educate young people on the dangers of becoming victims or perpetrators of crime whilst out drinking underage.
“This can also have potential consequences for their futures.
“Our school link and Safer Neighbourhood Team officers are also available to assist in this education process, and we will ensure these key messages are passed on.
“We fully support UNIGHT in their efforts to maintain Edinburgh’s reputation as a safe place to enjoy a night out.”
Duncan Lauder, senior Quality Improvement officer, Edinburgh City Council Education Department, added the council’s support to the launch.
He said: “This video really is an exciting and inspirational project which we think will connect directly with young people and really make them think twice before trying to illegally gain entry to a nightclub.
“This gives us a powerful educational tool and we are delighted that every pupil over the age of 16 in schools across Edinburgh will see this video and hopefully get the message that it isn’t worth taking the risk of trying to enter a nightclub underage.”
Since its implementation in 2007 Unight projects in partnership with Lothian and Borders Police and the City of Edinburgh Council have successfully reduced crime at or near the 50 members premises involved by 42 per cent or over 600 crimes.
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