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Latest Controlled Purchase Operations brings shocking result

Two recent Controlled Purchase Operations conducted at licensed premises throughout Northland by Northland DHB and NZ Police staff are shocked at the result.

The operations saw underage volunteers, aged 16 and 17 years, attempting to purchase alcohol from licensed premises in Bay of Islands and Whangarei areas. The operations resulted in EIGHT SALES overall, - FOUR sales from the 11 outlets tested in the Bay of Islands operation and FOUR sales from the 23 outlets tested in the Whangarei operation.

Senior Constable Graeme WRIGHT, Alcohol Harm Reduction Officer, Kerikeri Police said, “The result was extremely disappointing. The FOUR premises involved should have better systems in place regarding not selling alcohol to minors. These sales of alcohol should not be occurring. All applicants when they make application for a license to sell alcohol state there are appropriate systems and procedures in place to prevent the sale of alcohol to underage people. Clearly this is not the case for these premises that sold alcohol to the volunteers.

I would like to emphasize that if identification is unable to be produced by anyone attempting to purchase alcohol who looks under 25 years of age, the sellers should not sell the alcohol to them. It is important to stress that a full and proper identification check must be carried out including calculating the age. This is best practice and the only sure way to prevent sales to underage.

As a community, we need to have confidence that license holders will not sell alcohol to our youth and allow them to drink unsupervised and potentially harmfully.

The consequences when the licensees are reported to the authorities are major. This can result in a suspension of their license to sell alcohol for a number of days”.

Sergeant Howard CLEMENT, Alcohol Harm Reduction Officer, Whangarei/Kaipara Police said, “Police are disappointed that FOUR Whangarei premises of 23 tested have failed the Controlled Purchase Operation which means one in six are not doing what they are supposed to be doing. In one alleged incident, three other young people without ID got alcohol at the same time.

After more than ten years of running the operations, with education, publicity and enforcement, this is poor. Financial implications for errant premises are likely to be a period of suspension of the license, meaning they cannot sell alcohol for a few days. The managers will not be able to work supervising sales of alcohol for about a month. All premises selling or supplying alcohol are aware that we run these types of operations regularly so should not be surprised that they are being tested. We expect that all premises should guard against sales to young persons and have the right procedures in place”.

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

Northland Operation statistics:

Off Licensed premises - 35 attempts from 34 premises resulted in EIGHT SALES


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