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Underage drinking

Upgraded powers to tackle underage drinking, including making it easier for police to confiscate alcohol, move along groups of teenagers causing trouble and stop retailers selling to underage children, came into force recently.

Previously, Police needed to prove that youngsters were intending to consume alcohol in the street before confiscating it (I know, what else would you do with a bottle of cider?!). Now Officers are able to confiscate the booze simply because people under 18 years are in possession of it. There is also a power to tackle persistent underage drinkers who possess alcohol in a public place.

A ‘Direction to Leave’ notice can be served on people aged 10 to 15 years, ensuring that larger groups of youngsters move on when congregating on street corners, outside shops etc.

The law has become more severe for shops who sell alcohol to under-18s – two strikes in three months will potentially lead to a loss of licence.

Your local Councillors have also been given new powers to tackle problem premises. They will be able to call for a review to restrict or remove an alcohol retailer’s licence.

The powers are not about spoiling anyone’s fun, or being heavy handed. However, we all know how a large group of youngsters hanging around outside the local shop, or playground, is intimidating and stops residents from using the services of the local community. Add to that a few bottles of cider, or cans of lager, and the problem becomes far worse. We then have youngsters who are far ‘braver’ through their nice new ‘lager coats’ and start becoming more rowdy, perhaps committing vandalism, public order offences and other crimes to impress their mates. It also is very time consuming for the rest of us clearing up vomit, taking drunken teenagers home to their parents and repairing the damage caused.

Of course, drunken youngsters can also become the victims of crime where they are vulnerable when incoherent through drink or drugs. Wallets, phones and other personal property can get taken, and more serious offences such as sexual assault can also happen.

The legislation is all about keeping our youngsters safe, and also allowing local residents to feel safe in their communities. Do you know where your kids are tonight?

If you have information about any crime, please call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111, or log on to Your call is free, no one will know you called and you may earn a cash reward. Please follow me on twitter @HantsCrimestopp for more updates.

PC Simon Wright

Article posted on: 05 January 2015

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