Whitchurch police want ban on high-energy drinks
- 13 April 2011
- From the section Hampshire & Isle of Wight
Police in a Hampshire town have asked shops to stop selling high-energy drinks to under-16s on Friday nights.
Officers have blamed drinks such as Kick and Red Bull for "hyperactivity" among youths in Whitchurch.
Police said community concern about nuisance being caused by large groups was the reason for the request.
The British Soft Drinks Association said each can has the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee and makers cannot market the drinks to children.
In a report to Whitchurch Town Council police said: "There had been a large influx of youths in Whitchurch who had been making a nuisance of themselves... especially on Friday nights.
"We have asked shops in Whitchurch not to sell Kick, Red Bull or any other stimulation drinks to youths under 16 on Friday evenings.
"This has been brought to our attention... and the fact that it increases the youths' hyperactivity."
Professor Tim Lang, professor of food policy at City University London, accused drinks firms of marketing their products to children.
"It is marketing an image of coolness, keep going, bounce through the night, dance till you drop," he explained.
"It is all part of that trendy, youth, hip culture and they know it and they are walking a very fine line to not break their own self regulation.
"Not even the most vehement critics of high-energy soft drinks would say this is causing crime or unsociable behaviour, but i think there is a little element of desperation here."
Richard Laming, spokesman for the British Soft Drinks Association, said: "These drinks have about as much caffeine as a cup of coffee.
"Our industry, we have a code of practice on this and we say we think that high caffeine drinks are not suitable for children.
"We do not market them to under-16s and if the police want to say please don't sell them, if the shops say we don't want to sell them, they do that with our blessing.
"All of our products should be consumed as part of a balanced diet."