Christian Union calls for alcohol age check subsidy
The Christian Union party wants the government to subsidise a remote system of checking for the sale of alcohols in supermarkets.8 August 2008
THE NETHERLANDS - The Christian Union party, the smallest party in the governing coalition, wants the government to subsidise a system of remote age checking for the sale of alcohol in supermarkets.
It proposes that supermarkets should only receive subsidy if they voluntarily raise their age limit for young people purchasing alcohol to 18 years from the current legal minimum age of 16 years.
The supermarket chain C1000 is already operating such a voluntary age limit increase and has introduced the remote age checking system in some of its stores.
Video cameras relay images of customers purchasing alcohol, which are monitored by a company in Breda. The company says its staff is able to keep an eye on 20 stores at once.
If there is any doubt as to a customer's age, the till locks automatically and the customer is asked to show his or her proof of identity to the camera. Apart from enabling tighter control, the remote system is aimed at preventing aggression by customers towards supermarket staff.
Recent research carried out by the University of Twente commissioned by the National Foundation for Alcohol Prevention recently showed it is remarkable easy for children aged under 16 to buy alcohol and cigarettes.
The relatively low age limit for purchasing alcohol in the Netherlands has been a subject of debate in recent years because of concerns that Dutch youth are among the heaviest drinkers in Europe.
However, the most recent figures released by the National Institute of Mental Health and Addiction show that alcohol consumption among young people aged 12 to 14 is actually falling, and is back to the level of 10 years ago.
[Radio Netherlands / Expatica]