Police enlist minors to test compliance with drinking law

‘We can’t enforce alcohol law alone,’ Aharonovitch says.

AHARONOVITCH (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Specially trained minors have been employed by police across the country, under a new pilot project, to walk into convenience stores and try to buy alcoholic beverages.
The teenagers, equipped with recording devices, walk into stores while undercover detectives monitor them outside.
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“Following the growing alcohol consumption by youths and the need for determined enforcement... a new initiative by the police’s Investigations and Intelligence Branch and the Community Policing Branch has regulated the recruitment of minors,” the force said in a statement on Monday.
The three-month pilot program, described by a police insider as “highly effective” so far, has already resulted in indictments against store owners who have been recorded selling alcohol to underage buyers.
“We are using this to shut down non-compliant vendors,” the police source told The Jerusalem Post. “Minors who look young have been recruited. Of course, they receive special training beforehand.”
“We’ve had store owners deny the suspicions afterward, but everything is recorded,” the source said.
Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch said on Monday that police have insufficient resources to enforce the new law, which bans people from consuming alcoholic beverages in public areas.
Speaking during a meeting with journalists to mark the New Year at the Public Security Ministry in the capital, Aharonovitch said that responding to noise pollution complaints and other relatively minor incidents were draining the police’s resources.
Plans to train municipal inspectors and grant them police powers to deal with minor offenses, which will come into effect soon, would take some of the load off police, Aharonovitch said.