By Andrew Starke

The AHA (NSW) has congratulated police on a weekend operation targeting teen drunkenness and anti-social behaviour in Sydney’s West, but expressed concern that underage drinkers were able to access alcohol at all.

Ten of 55 underage teens targeted by ‘Operation Enough’ were found to be in possession of alcohol during a night blitz by police last weekend in and around St Clair, Claremont Meadows and Erskine Park.

According to police, the operation, which ran between 4pm and 4am on Friday and Saturday night, targeted young people involved in underage drinking, illicit drug taking, and anti-social and criminal behaviour.

“While we applaud the police for their initiative in targeting underage drinking and anti-social behaviour we need to ask the question; where is this alcohol coming from?” asked AHA NSW CEO, Sally Fielke.

“In addition to ringing parents to collect their children, police should find out who supplied this alcohol for underage drinkers to consume in parks, railway stations and suburban streets in Sydney’s West.

“In the last four weeks alone we have had several out of control house parties and brawls in Sydney streets and the sudden proliferation of alcohol and associated violence out in the community is a real concern.”

Fielke said the AHA took the view that the Police Union focused on early hotel closing hours as the panacea to any problem involving alcohol.

“In the case of underage drinkers, street fights and out of control house parties this will have no effect whatsoever,” she said.

Let’s not forget 70 percent of alcohol purchased is consumed at home, at a mates or in outdoor public areas.”

St Marys Local Area Commander, Acting Superintendent, Wayne Murray, said police had tried a new tactic by contacting a parent of each and every child and instructed them to collect their children.

“Police officers and the community are fed up with some of the behaviour of out-of-control kids and part of the strategy in reducing juvenile alcohol-related anti-social behaviour and crime is reminding parents they are accountable,” he said.

“Police can only do so much in enforcing the law but we, along with the general community, expect parents to take responsibility for making sure their kids are not engaging in criminal or anti-social behaviour.

“Most parents do the right thing but this is again a reminder that they need to be vigilant about what their teenagers are getting up to.”

Murray said police operations such as ‘Enough’ will continue regularly in the upcoming summer months.

Fielke said NSW hotels practised responsible service of alcohol measures with alcohol served in a heavily regulated environment.

“There is zero tolerance for underage drinking,” she said. “The same responsibility obviously needs to be shown by places like the big liquor barns which are flooding the suburbs with cheap alcohol.

“While Police are to be commended for their initiative, underage drinking is illegal and should not be tolerated.

“Secondary supply of alcohol is a serious issue and should be treated as such – especially with the post-HSC party season upon us.”

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The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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