Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Kaipara youth alcohol operation results hard to swallow

Police say they’re disappointed with the result of a recent Controlled Purchase Operation run in Kaipara.

Police and Ngā Tai Ora – Public Health Northland carried out the operation that saw 17-year-old volunteers attempt to purchase alcohol from licensed premises in the Kaipara area.

They tested 22 outlets – with sales made to the underage volunteers in three instances.

Sergeant Tai Patrick, Alcohol Harm Prevention Officer, Whangārei Police says the sales were a “disappointing” result. 

“It is worrying when licensees are caught selling alcohol to underage minors, the premises involved should have better systems in place to prevent such things happening,” he says.

“When licensees apply or renew their liquor license, they must demonstrate that there are appropriate procedures and training systems in place to prevent sales of alcohol being made to underage people.

“Clearly this is not the case for those that sold to minors during the operation. As a community, we need to have confidence that license holders will not sell alcohol to our youth, which will likely result in them drinking unsupervised causing potential harm, not just to themselves, but also to others around them.”

Sergeant Patrick says all premises selling or supplying alcohol should guard against sales to young persons and have the right procedures in place.

“It is important to emphasise if identification is unable to be produced by anyone attempting to purchase alcohol who looks under 25 years of age, they should not be sold alcohol,” he said.

“It is important to stress a proper identification check must be carried out including calculating the age. This is best practice and the only sure way to prevent alcohol sales to people under the age of 18 years.”

Both Police and Ngā Tai Ora – Public Health Northland have urged all licensed premises to remain highly vigilant when selling alcohol products.

Controlled Purchase Operations (CPOs) are part of an ongoing program to assess compliance with the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 in an effort to address access to alcohol by minors.

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