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Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001

Section 31: Enforcement of certain offences relating to underage drinking

90.Subsection (1) adds a new subsection (1A) to section 169C of the Licensing Act 1964. It provides a defence for a person under 18 (a minor) who is sent by a police officer or an inspector of weights and measures, acting in the course of their duty, to purchase or attempt to purchase alcohol from licensed premises, to the offence contained in section 169C(1). That section makes it an offence for any minor to buy or attempt to buy intoxicating liquor in licensed premises. The new subsection enables the officers to seek the assistance of persons under eighteen years to conduct test purchasing operations for the purpose of establishing if licensees and other staff working in licensed premises are abiding by the prohibition on sales to minors contained in section 169A of the Licensing Act 1964.

91.Subsection (2) adds a new subsection (4) to section 169G of the 1964 Act. This provides a defence for the police and inspectors of weights and measures who are engaged in “test purchasing” operations to the offence set out in section 169G. That section makes it an offence knowingly to send a person under 18 to obtain alcohol sold in licensed premises. The defence only applies where a relevant officer is acting in the course of his duty.

92.Subsection (3) adds a new section 169I to the 1964 Act. This new section provides that every local weights and measures authority in England and Wales (which in practice means local councils) has a duty to enforce the offences contained in sections 169A and 169B of that Act (i.e. prohibition on sale of alcohol to minors on licensed premises). This also provides an express power to those authorities for using any person (including minors) to conduct test purchase operations.

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