Liquor shops stung
POLICE are getting tougher on liquor outlets selling to under-18s.
Auckland crime statistics show liquor act breaches have almost tripled in the year to June 30.
There were 2125 offences recorded, up from 762 in the previous 12 months.
Sergeant Wayne Kitcher of the Greenlane liquor licensing unit says police are being more proactive in doing checks on liquor outlets.
“We have run a number of operations during the year and as a result, it shows what appears to be more people being caught.
“The more operations you run, the more people are caught.”
He says the increased police focus on liquor licensing is reflected in the higher statistics.
“We discussed what direction we wanted to head in and came to the decision to be more proactive. It’s definitely the way to bring home the message to licensees.”
Three liquor licensing units across Auckland have run combined operations in the past year.
Sergeant Bryce Law of the central Auckland unit says a sting in the central city last month had disappointing results.
Ten of the 38 premises visited sold liquor to underage teens and many did not check their age or ask for identification.
“We do this quite regularly. People should be expecting us.”
He says officers are out every week, visiting liquor outlets to make sure they are following the law.
“Most premises are pretty well run but there are a few that get it wrong.”
Officers will be on the lookout for intoxicated minors.
In the past two months, several outlets have had their licences suspended or cancelled after being caught selling to minors.
The Diamond Mart on Queen St had its off-licence cancelled last month, after it sold a can of bourbon to a 17-year-old during a police operation in June.
Manager Byeong Mun Choi also had his general manager’s certificate cancelled after the New Zealand Liquor Licensing Authority ruled he was not suitable to hold the certificate.
The Herne Bay Cellars on Jervois Rd had its off-licence suspended for 24 hours on September 17 after being caught in a similar sting.
The 17-year-old volunteer was able to buy a four-pack of Jim Beam and cola drinks without proof of age.
Duty manager Materoa Kowhai left the business after the incident and the authority did not suspend his manager’s certificate.
Other crimes which increased in the last financial year include serious assaults, up by 33.9 percent, family offences up 63.2 percent and homicides, up 16.7 percent.
Sexual attacks fell by 9.8 percent, burglaries went down by 7.4 percent and dishonesty crimes by 16 percent.