Police gain new powers over alcohol use by young people

Police have been given powers to confiscate unopened bottles and
cans of alcohol from under-age drinkers wherever they are in an
attempt to tackle antisocial behaviour.

Previously police only had the power to confiscate opened
bottles or cans of alcohol from under-age drinkers.

The new powers mean that police can seize beer, wines and
spirits from anyone aged under 18 even though they might not be in
an area where antisocial behaviour has been identified as a

A Home Office spokesperson said the amendment to the Criminal
Justice and Police Act was in response to concerns from the police
that leaving any alcohol in the possession of under-age drinkers
would allow them to continue drinking and create further nuisance
once the officer had moved on.

“It recognises that drink-related antisocial behaviour is more
likely to be committed by younger people than older people,” said
the spokesperson. “We need to give the police the powers to deal
with situations when they arise. It does not mean an end to a
peaceful family picnic.”

The powers to remove alcohol from adults is limited to only
those areas which have been designated by local authorities as
places where people are causing a public nuisance or are likely to
do so. This, too, has now been extended to include unopened bottles
and cans.

Hazel Blears, Home Office minister and sponsor minister of the
government’s alcohol harm reduction programme, said: “These
new powers will be used against those who are, through their
drinking, causing a public nuisance or are likely to do so.”

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