29/01/2010

Tighter Underage Drinking Powers

New powers to tackle underage drinking, including making it easier for police to confiscate alcohol, come into effect today.

Police will also be able to move on groups of teenagers causing trouble and stop retailers selling to underage children.

The powers were introduced through the Policing and Crime Act and can be used from today by police forces across England and Wales.

Officers have to authority to confiscate alcohol from young people and no longer need to prove that the individual ‘intended’ to consume the alcohol.

The police’s ability to issue ‘Directions to Leave’ will be extended so that they can be issued to people aged 10 to 15.

It is now an offence for under-18s to persistently possess alcohol in a public place.

Persistently selling alcohol to under 18s changes from three strikes within three months to two strikes in the same period.

Local councillors have also been given greater powers to tackle problem premises.

Home Office Minister Alan Campbell said: "The majority of young people are model citizens but there are a minority that are not. These powers will make it easier for police to take tough action against those groups whose behaviour can affect a whole community."

Schools Minister Vernon Coaker added: "It is right that we give the police tough powers to crack down on the very small minority of young people who are causing problems in their communities.

"We are backing up this enforcement with prevention and support for young people, by providing them with activities and places to go to, particularly on Friday and Saturday nights, so they have positive alternatives to drinking."

(PR)

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