Thursday, January 22, 2009

Bottle stores

These two bottle stores or liquor shops are just lss than five hundred metres from ech other on the same side of Dominion Road. It is the same at Great north Road, and Sandringham Road. There are just too many bottle stores.

At Sam's old school, when a bottle store was set up next to his school, people protested, but to no avail. A Plunket Room building just two shops down were vandalised many times and eventually burnt to the ground.  Mothers and young children lost a place to see their nurses and to play. Today, you can see the nicely constructed roofed sandpit. A store in Three kings closed because the proprietor was robbed too many times.

Finally, last June, Manurewa liquor store owner Navtej Sing died when robbers came to his store and shot him.  Then two Asian residents were killed within days of each other, 80-year-old Yang Yin Ping who was bashed in a home invasion, and mother Joanne Wang who was run down by a car outside the Manukau mall for the contents of her handbag.

Police blame the young gangs.  There were more bottle shops in South Auckland where crime is rampant. Liquor outlets in the city have roughly trebled since the Sale of Liquor Act made it easier to get licences in 1989, from 186 licences in 1991 to 510 last June. On a per capita basis they have doubled from 0.8 to 1.6 for every 1000 people.

There are rogue proprietors who sell booze to minors. This is causing a concern. They care for their cash registers Kerching!  Kerching! and not the problems caused by alcohol abuse in the society.

In my post of the police, the pix were taken outside a bottle store. The two policemen were talking to a young man outside the store. I don't know why, but I have a good idea.

Minors aged between 13 and 17 were used to test 109 licensed bottle stores and bars within the wider Auckland city area, Avondale and Blockhouse Bay last weekend.

The minors did not carry any identification and should not have been able to purchase any liquor.

But 10 did.

Nine of the offending outlets were bottle stores. Another was a superette.

Sergeant Jason Loye says the overall result is pleasing.

But he is concerned that some offenders seem to be entrenched in their ways.

"At least two of the premises that were caught have been before the Liquor Licensing Authority twice before," he says.

"Action is being taken to cancel these licensees as we believe that they are unsuitable persons to hold the responsibility for dispensing liquor."

Mr Loye says carelessness and inattention are also factors.

"Is the sale of a $20 item really worth the risk of, at minimum, a suspension of the licence/manager’s certificate for a period or at worst cancellation?" he says.

"Some of these licensees- managers just don’t seem to care, and if that is the case, they should not be in the industry."

Some of the premises targeted during the exercise were reported by members of the public and concerned parents.

Mr Loye encourages others to do the same.

"If there is any information in relation to licensed premises that are contributing to the disorder and other problems caused by the abuse of liquor, you can contact the police 
liquor licensing officers, who would be happy to take the information from you," he says.

Mr Loye says alcohol abuse contributes to between 60 and 70 percent of all incidents attended by police.

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