Eye on crime: Tackling underage drinking

PC Paul Daw.

PC Paul Daw. - Credit: Archant

North Devon’s parents should make sure they know what their children are up to this summer, as police seek to tackle underage drinking.

My name is PC Paul Daw and I am the Neighbourhood Beat Manager for the night time economy. My role is to police alcohol provision and the impact it has on the community.

With warm weather and the school summer break I look to combat underage drinking in public places.

It is against the law:

*To sell alcohol to someone under 18 anywhere.

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* For an adult to buy or attempt to buy alcohol on behalf of someone under 18.

* For someone under 18 to buy alcohol, attempt to buy alcohol or to be sold alcohol.

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* For someone under 18 to drink alcohol in licensed premises, except where they are 16 or 17-years-old and accompanied by an adult. It is legal for them to drink, but not buy, beer, wine and cider with a table meal.

* To sell alcohol to someone under 18 can lead to a maximum fine of £10,000, or premises shut down.

* Shops can reserve the right to refuse sale of alcohol to an adult if they’re accompanied by a child.

* Police can confiscate alcohol if they believe it has been, or will be, drunk by someone under 18 in a public place.

It is illegal to be drunk ‘in charge of a child’ under seven in a public place or on licensed premises.

Most alcohol seized comes from home, either taken without parental consent or given to them by their parents. National surveys have shown 40 per cent of alcohol on young people has been given to them by parents.

The next method is where strangers are asked outside stores to buy alcohol. Contrary to popular belief very little alcohol is sold directly to under 18s.

Unsupervised drinking for young people is dangerous and can be a factor in criminality, risk taking or unsafe sexual activity.

There is a lot of misconception around alcohol consumption and parents have a responsibility to discuss drinking with their children.

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