One would assume that local councils` enforcement teams would do their utmost to stem the purchase by under 18s of alcohol. After all the same councils have to cope with the results of the drunken behaviour of their tax payers` children. When charges are laid against those who sell drink to juveniles the accused appear at Magistrates` Courts. If they are convicted by pleading guilty or being found guilty after trial they are usually fined. One would expect thousands of such cases to have been prosecuted and millions of pounds of fines to have been levied. After all excessive and early drinking is a major medical problem as well as a problem for the criminal justice system. But one would be mistaken.
A parliamentary answer a year ago by the then Under Secretary of State for Justice Jeremy Wright revealed amongst other facts that in 2013 in the whole of England & Wales there were only 128 convictions under s.146. For the predeeding four years the convictions were:-
The complete numbers of convictions under the Licensing Act 2003 in England and Wales, from 2009 to 2013 are here.
I think even the most myopic can discern that there is a pattern in these figures which are shocking beyond belief but my own experience bears them out. Every case prosecuted by councils is paid for by Council Tax and topped up by grants from central government as is all local expenditure. Even the mathematically illiterate can appreciate the term "cost effectiveness" even if its underlying premises are numerical gobblygook. Spend eg £1 to stop a drunken youth causing eg £20 of damage to him/hersef, others and the evironment must make sense economically, medically and socially. Oh were it so simple!