Teens saying no to booze, but Richmond tops list for 15-year-olds getting drunk

Drinking alcoholThe soberest 15-year-olds in the country appear to be living in London, with the exception perhaps of the teenagers of Richmond.

A national survey of attitudes and habits of 15-year-olds found that 59% in London say that they have never touched alcohol, the lowest level for any region in England and Wales.

Of those that have drunk alcohol, nearly two thirds say that they are do not drink currently while in the South West of England, the same proportion say they do.

The What About YOUth survey commissioned by the Department of Health reveals that drinking habits are influenced by cultural and ethnic factors and by deprivation levels.

This can be seen in a borough by borough break down of the survey that received responses from around 120,000 teenagers.

When asked if they had ever taken an alcoholic drink just 15% in Tower Hamlets, 20% in Newham and 25% in Brent said yes.  Both boroughs have high levels of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic teenagers in the population, who were found to drink less than white youngsters.  Many Muslims live in these boroughs and drinking alcohol is forbidden by their faith.

Drinking levels were higher in outer London boroughs (including Redbridge, Havering, Bexley, Bromley, Sutton and Kingston), than inner ones and the highest proportion of 15-year-olds who have consumed alcohol was in Richmond.

Teens had a drink

Richmond also has the highest proportion in England and Wales of 15-year-olds who say that they have been drunk in the past month.  38% of those who say that they have tried alcohol say that they have been drunk in the previous 4 weeks.

Teens drunks

The proportion in Richmond is substantially higher than most other London boroughs. Haringey was the only other borough where the rate was above 30%.

Source data

See also

Kensington teenage girls have the most negative body image in England

London losing its thirst for binge drinking

London teen pregnancy rate lowest but more end in abortion


Do fewer offences mean better bike behaviour or laxer policing?

Brompton bikeThe number of recorded traffic offences by cyclists on London’s roads fell last year, and on current data looks like it will be down further in 2015.

Cycling has grown dramatically in central London in recent years, by 173% according to the Mayor’s Vision for Cycling, and TfL estimates that 570,000 journeys are taken each day by bike.

Data released by the Metropolitan Police for offences from 2007 to May this year under a Freedom of Information request showed that traffic violations went up quite sharply as that popularity grew.

The most common offences are cycling on a pavement and going through a red light. Both are subject to a fixed penalty notice fine of £50.

The number of fixed penalty notices handed out rose steadily until 2010 and then began to decline. 2013 stands out and the high number may be the result of a massive road safety campaign, Operation Safeway, at the end of that year. Designed with cycle safety it mind it ended up giving out more than 4,000 notices to cyclists in around 8 weeks.

cycle offences

In 2014 Fixed Penalty Notices went back to 2012 levels, and up unitl May 18th this year just 1,300 have been given out, 370 for cycling on the pavement and 946 for going through a red light.

The data also reveals that cycling while drunk or under the influence of drugs remains a rare charge. Riding a bike while drunk is an offence under the Road Traffic Act, but the more commonly used law is the 1872 Drunk in Charge of a Carriage. For legal purposes a bicycle qualifies as a carriage.

cycle drunk

Prosecutions peaked in 2010 with 22 but fell back to 8 last year. Up to May 18th this year 7 people had been charged

The number of offences is driven by two things, levels of police enforcement and how well cyclists are observing the law. This data doesn’t tell us which of these or what combination is affecting the numbers.

Source data

See also

42 pedestrians and cyclists injured each week by hit and run drivers

Staying healthy and getting there easily prompts Londoners to go on foot

Tourists biggest users of Boris Bikes