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Last Updated: Sunday, 3 February 2008, 08:59 GMT
Public drinking ban for under-18s
A young person drinking
Jacqui Smith will urge drink manufacturers to do more to help
Police are to get new powers to confiscate alcohol from under-18s who drink in public, the government says.

Currently police can seize alcohol only from groups suspected of alcohol-related crime or disorder.

And although under-18s are not allowed to buy alcohol, there is no law preventing them from drinking it.

The proposed ban, which will mean youngsters can legally drink only at home, will be announced by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith this week.

Frank Soodeen, from Alcohol Concern, has welcomed the proposal.

He said: "The risks for young people of drinking in public are much higher than if, for example, they were at home. So hopefully, this may reduce what we know is a rising number of hospital admissions for the under-16s.

"One of the reasons they buy in such quantities is that it's so easy to find somewhere to drink it and obviously that's what we need to cut back on."

I fully support communities' efforts to stamp out under-age alcohol-fuelled disorder
Jacqui Smith

The home secretary will also demand that drink manufacturers do more to stop alcohol being sold to under-18s.

A Home Office spokesman said: "The home secretary will listen to police and is ready to give them extra powers. She is very keen to go for this."

And Ms Smith told the News of the World: "If children are caught drinking in public they'll have those drinks confiscated.

"I fully support communities' efforts to stamp out under-age alcohol-fuelled disorder and the harm that it causes."

Police were given the power to seize alcohol and disperse groups suspected of alcohol-related crime or disorder under the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006.

And in a month-long crack-down between October and November last year, the Home Office said officers used power to seize the equivalent of 6,500 pints of alcohol from under-age drinkers.

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