Undercover Teens to Help Fight against Underage Drinking

 In Blog

Would you let your teenager go undercover for the police in order to crack down on liquor outlets supplying alcohol to juveniles?

Police want to use teen cadets in sting operations across WA in an attempt to stamp out culprits selling alcohol to minors.

According to the Police Commissioner, Karl O’Callaghan, police cadets from the age of 16 may be used in the operations, by going undercover and making test purchases of alcohol to catch licenced operators who sell alcohol to underage minors.

The Police Commissioner explained that this method of operation is better that surveillance because it did not involve hours of wasted police time sitting outside and waiting for something to happen.

This type of method has proven effective in other countries such as New Zealand and even contributed to a decline in teen alcohol abuse rates in other parts of Oz.

This article on Yahoo’s News Site explains:

WA Police Commissioner Karl O’Callaghan said police cadets were employed from age 16 and could be given limited powers to make test purchases.

“The problem with surveillance work at the moment is we have to have police officers sitting outside premises waiting for something to happen so they can be waiting for several hours,” Mr O’Callaghan said.

“With a test purchase, you simply take a police cadet to the premises, they go in, they attempt to purchase and if they are successful, you fine the licensee. If licensees adhere to the ‘under 25 show ID’ principle, they should never have a problem.”

Mr O’Callaghan said similar operations had been successful in other jurisdictions and it could be a way to reduce teenage alcohol abuse.

“When this was done in New Zealand, they reduced the failure rate from 28 per cent to 6 per cent in about three years,” he said.

Read more:


Not everyone is in favour of this method of catching offenders. The AHA (Australian Hotels Association)chief executive, Bradley Woods labelled the method as “entrapment”. He also said that a minimal number of youth were buying alcohol from liquor stores so such as method is not necessary.

Also the AHA wants licenced premises to be allowed to operate after 10pm on Sundays, a move the police commissioner has condemned. According to Mr O’Callaghan the police will not be supporting the move to allow licenced premises to be open later than 10pm on Sundays, as is being sought by the AHA.

The commissioner did express support for the AHA’s submission to issue barring notices to people behaving badly in the vicinity of licenced venues which would see these troublemakers banned from licenced premises for up to a year.

The Police Commissioner went on to state in the article:

Mr O’Callaghan said moves to issue barring notices to people who committed serious crimes while intoxicated away from licensed venues could be difficult.

The Commissioner and the AHA are at odds over changing the definition of “drunk” from “impaired” to “affected”.

The AHA argues “impaired” is evidence-based while Mr O’Callaghan believes the word has a “medical connection” which would be difficult to prove.

Read more:


RSA Staff should be cautious about who they serve alcohol to. If you suspect someone is underage, ask them for an ID and if you aren’t sure, ask them to prove their age with an ID anyway rather than be caught out in one of the police’s stings.


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