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Controlled Purchase Operation

Controlled Purchase Operation

On Saturday 6 October 2012 29 licensed premises in Palmerston North were visited in a combined operation by Palmerston North City Council Liquor Licensing Inspectors, Ministry of Health Public Health Officers and Police.

The Controlled Purchase Operation was run in conjunction with Operation Unite.

For the operation two volunteers below the legal purchase age of 18 years attempted to make a purchase while being observed by a plain-clothed member of Police.  The volunteers for this operation were 16 and 17 year old girls.

The controlled purchase operation visited 4 off licence and 25 on licensed premises:
•    Two supermarkets
•    Two bottle stores and
•    Twenty five on licensed premises.

Of the 29 premises visited, two made a sale to the volunteer - both of them on licensed premises.  One of the premises sold on two occasions approximately two hours apart.

One premises did not have a crowd controller at the point of entry while the other premises did.

The seller and duty manager at both premises were spoken to shortly after the sale and further meetings will be held with them and the licensee to determine what course of action will be taken.

The usual course of action in instances such as this is to refer the duty manager and licensee to the Liquor Licensing Authority, whilst the seller may face prosecution before the District Court.

Police and the Palmerston North City Council Liquor Licensing Inspector will be having lengthy discussions with the licensee of the premises that made two sales.

At this premises the crowd controller asked for identification and despite the volunteers saying they did not have any on them they were allowed entry and were subsequently allowed to purchase.

Sergeant Glenn Ryan, Palmerston North Police Alcohol Harm Reduction Officer, said, "Whilst it is pleasing to find the majority of premises refusing entry or service, it is disappointing to find some premises continuing to breach the most basic of provisions within the Sale of Liquor Act."

"Bar staff and duty managers should never solely rely on crowd controllers vetting patrons for intoxication and age.  Whilst they are generally a good gate keeper, the overall responsibility for ensuring compliance with the Sale of Liquor Act falls squarely on the shoulders of the duty manager."

The premises also demonstrated a severe deficiency in its ability to monitor the intoxication levels of its patrons.  Upon closing many patrons required assistance walking while others lost their balance completely and fell over in the streets.

"It was a very disappointing way to end the night."


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