Civilians' also have a role to play

PUBLISHED: 11:20 11 January 2007 | UPDATED: 14:57 12 May 2010

I SEE one of our Euro MPs is criticising the move that has seen trading standards officers being given new powers in the campaign against under-age drinking. Tom Wise, the UK Independence Party Euro MP for the east of England, is not particularly enthrall

I SEE one of our Euro MPs is criticising the move that has seen trading standards officers being given new powers in the campaign against under-age drinking.

Tom Wise, the UK Independence Party Euro MP for the east of England, is not particularly enthralled by such a move.

He believes such actions should remain with the police instead of creating a situation where "civilian employees" are given "the powers of a constable".

He says that this would undermine the work of the police.

In the days when we are attempting to deal with under-age drinking, then any additional help seems worthwhile.

Trading standards officers are not, after all, making arrests and stopping drinking in the streets.

They are simply attempting to prevent the sale of alcohol to those under-age intent on such a purchase.

This is a serious attempt to curb under-age drinking, rather than turning civilian officials into what Mr Wise believes to be "judge and jury".

All trading standards officers are doing is giving an £80 on-the-spot fine to anyone selling alcohol to the under-aged.

It seems that such a move is to act as a deterrent - and at the same time gives police the opportunity to get on with the real job of catching criminals and keeping law and order.

And knowing that such "civilians" are around may make traders more vigilant.

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