Police target underage drinking

A new program designed to combat the ongoing problem of underage drinking is being trialed in the Eurobodalla.

The Far South Coast is one of six commands across the state to trial the Your Choice program, which will be enforced on underage drinkers when they’re caught by police.

The program is all based online, takes about 20 minutes to complete and educates young drinkers about the risks of drinking at a young age.

Youth liaison officer Senior Constable Donna Clarke said the program was timely, given it is Schoolies week and close to the holiday period.

She said underage drinking was a problem everywhere.

“It is an issue,” she said. “It’s quite prolific, especially coming up to Christmas and the New Year.

“We were one of the Local Area Commands that were chosen to implement it. It’s an ongoing issue and is something the whole state is having problems with.”

Sen Const Clarke said when police receive a complaint about underage drinking and catch offenders in the act, officers will inform the drinkers that they have two weeks to complete the online Choice program.

“If they don’t complete it, we have to take action,” Sen Const Clarke said.

The program is an alternative for police to enforce upon young drinkers, rather than taking legal action.

“It is more education-based. Hopefully when they finish (the program) they have more information.”

However, people don’t have to come under police notice to be able to participate. Anyone can complete the program on the website.

Sen Const Clarke said it was hoped the program would eventually spread throughout the state.

“Police have zero tolerance to underage drinking and it will be enforced now through Christmas and the New Year,” she said.

Visit www.yourchoiceonline.com.au for more information.

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