The West

Most  booze shops fail  to check age
Easy purchase: Most booze shops fail to check age of buyers, police claim. Picture: The West Australian

Police claim takeaway alcohol retailers are irresponsible and motivated only by profit after 70 per cent sold alcohol to teenage police cadets without checking their age during a third licensing sting in eight months.

The Australian Liquor Stores Association's service policy says any customer who looks under 25 should be asked for identification, while the Australian Hotels Association says its standard is 21.

But Police Commissioner Karl O'Callaghan said the three operations showed the industry could not be trusted to self-regulate, after two out of three operators failed to ask for identification during 392 visits by young-looking police cadets since July.

In the latest sting, two 18-year-old male and female police cadets bought alcohol at 140 of the 200 outlets they visited without proving they were 18.

None of the retailers which failed to ask for identification could be fined. However, police said the operations showed why they needed powers to use underage cadets to crack down on outlets selling alcohol to minors.

ALSA WA executive director Lindsay James and AHA chief executive Bradley Woods said none of the retailers had committed any crime but they needed to be more vigilant about checking identification.

"It's an unfortunate slur on the 50,000 people who work in the hospitality industry for the Police Commissioner to suggest that we put profit before people and safety," Mr Woods said.

Mr Woods and Mr James rejected suggestions that tougher regulations were needed for packaged liquor outlets to restrict the access of alcohol to juveniles.

An independent review of WA's Liquor Control Act has recommended allowing police to use underage police cadets for covert stings and making mandatory the voluntary policy of asking anyone under 25 for proof of age.

Mr O'Callaghan said the industry had promised last year that operators would adhere to the policy but nothing had changed.

The West Australian

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