Two Controlled Purchase Operations (CPOs) carried out by NZ Police and National Public Health Service saw three underage volunteers, aged just 16, attempt to purchase alcohol from licensed premises in the greater Whangarei and the Far North areas.
The Whangarei operation tested 15 outlets, which resulted in one sale. The Far North operation tested 16 outlets, and resulted in two sales.
“It is frustrating when an outlet is caught selling alcohol to an underage person. The sale is illegal and should not occur,” Sergeant Tai Patrick, Alcohol Harm Prevention Officer, Whangarei Police, said.
“Outlets are aware that we run these types of operations regularly. Children aged well below the legal age of 18 are used to approach alcohol outlets to purchase alcohol products under controlled conditions. We expect all premises to have appropriate systems and procedures in place to prevent sales of alcohol products to minors.”
NZ Police and the National Public Health Service urge all licensed premises to remain highly vigilant when selling alcohol products. CPOs are part of an ongoing programme to assess compliance with the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 to address access to alcohol by minors.
“Legislation prohibiting sales to persons under 18 came into force 24 years ago. I find it astonishing that outlets continue to sell alcohol products to underage people this far down the track,” said Sergeant Michelle Row, Alcohol Harm Prevention Officer, Kerikeri Police.
“As a community, we need to have confidence that license holders will not sell alcohol to our youth and allow them to drink unsupervised, which could be very harmful. The consequences when licensees are reported to the authorities are major. Sales to underage can result in a suspension of their liquor license to sell alcohol for several days.”
All applicants, when they apply for a license to sell alcohol, state that there are appropriate systems and procedures in place to prevent the sale of alcohol to underage people.
“Clearly, this is not the case for those that sold alcohol to minors. I continue to emphasise that staff must ask for identification from anyone attempting to purchase alcohol products who looks under 25. No identification, no sale. It is that simple. “This is best practice and a sure way to prevent sales to minors.”