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Northland Controlled Purchase Operation

16th April 2014

Mistakes still being made by licensed premises in the Bay of Islands

Police and the Northland District Health Board are very disappointed with the results of an alcohol controlled purchase operation conducted in licensed premises in the Mid North last Friday (April 11).

The controlled purchase operation targeted licensed premises in the Russell, Opua, Paihia, Okaihau, Kerikeri and Waipapa areas.

The operation carried out by members of the Far North Alcohol Team (FNAT)*, tested the compliance of selling alcohol to minors (under the supervision of Police).

Eleven premises were tested consisting of eight off-licensed premises and three on-licensed premises.

One of the licensed premises sold alcohol to the underage minors (youth under 18 years).

Far North Alcohol Harm Reduction Officer Senior Constable Graeme Wright says the result, which followed on from an operation in February, was still extremely disappointing.

“This operation highlights how licensed premises still need to lift their standards and how easily our young people are able to access alcohol from one licensed premises in this region.

"Licensees are required to ensure they don't sell alcohol to our kids. That is why we have a system of licenses. How hard is it to stop selling to kids? Well it's really easy, no photo identification - no sale. It is that simple”

The fallout from young people accessing alcohol is well documented. As a community we need to have confidence that license holders will not sell alcohol to our young people.

The police will be part of Operation Unite this Easter which will see a focus on alcohol misuse on our roads and in our communities.

Operation Unite is a joint initiative of police commissioners across Australia and New Zealand and co-ordinated by the Australia New Zealand Policing Advisory Agency (ANZPAA). It demonstrates the united determination of police to challenge alcohol misuse, crime, violence and anti-social behaviour and achieve significant change.

During Operation Unite Police will be carrying out licensed premises checks and many staff will be walking the beat to ensure the streets are safe, so everyone can enjoy a night out.

We as a community also need to take the time "now" to think about how we can help reduce the harm to ourselves, our families and our communities.

The new Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 came into force last December and it now means that premises and managers/licensees of those premises are subject to three strikes (offences) and then they can lose their licenses.

Each offence could result in short term suspensions of their licenses, one to seven days for the premises and 30 days for the managers, and/or fines not more than $10,000 for managers and $2,000 for the seller.

“The increased availability of cheap and/or discounted alcohol available from multiple sources and close to home has attributed in rises in violence in the home and in public places.

“We will continue to test the licensed premises, but people need to look at what they are doing in their homes as well. Youth and alcohol is a big problem, but young people are by no means the only people abusing alcohol as we see home based drinking impact on domestic and violence incidents”, says Mr Wright.

Controlled purchase operations are part of an ongoing programme to assess compliance with the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 to ensure young people under the age of 18 are not supplied with alcohol.

In accordance with the Act, applications for suspension or cancellation of the licence and manager’s certificate for each premise that failed the CPO will be made to the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority.

Operation statistics:
Off and on licensed premises: 11 premises checked resulted in one sale

Far North Alcohol Team (FNAT) - Staff from the Northland District Health Board Public Health Unit, NZ Police and Far North District Council are tasked with monitoring and enforcing the requirements under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012


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