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Saturday, May 20, 2006


I spent a very interesting evening last night with Trading Standards Officers and the South Wales Police in Swansea City Centre checking out whether pubs and nightclubs were willing to serve underage customers.

We were accompanied by two young people aged 14 and 15, made up for a night out. The idea was that under the supervision of Trading Standards Officers and plain clothes police officers they would try to enter various establishments and attempt to buy alcohol. If they succeeded then they would pass their purchase straight away to Trading Standards and leave the premises. A uniformed Police Officer would then enter with the Licensing Officer and issue an £80 fixed penalty notice to the member of staff who had served the drinks. Other action may well be taken subsequently against the licensee.

I only stayed for a couple of hours but was impressed with the thoroughness of the operation, the way that every effort was made to protect the adolescents who were assisting the Police and at the sheer professionalism of all involved. Sad to say that after being refused admittance at the first establishment, the two youngsters were admitted and served without any challenge at all at the second pub. It was not even that busy as it was pouring with rain and was still early in the evening. When the Police then arrived in an official capacity the bouncers moved very quickly to get the manager but it was too late.

This is part of a big crackdown by the Government on underage drinking and some substantial resources have been made available for it. This is just as well as I estimated that between the Police and the Council there must have been at least ten people involved in last night's operation.
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