Beginning Friday, the Police and Border Guard (PPA) are allowed to use minors as "police explorers" to check retailers' compliance with the prohibition to sell alcohol and tobacco products to minors.
"It is the responsibility of each adult and business to see to it that instead of consuming alcohol and tobacco products young people would engage in activities developing them which are not harmful to health. Unfortunately the reality still is that many retailers do not check the age of the person that they sell alcohol or cigarettes to," Veiko Kommusaar, head of the department for law enforcement and crimial policy at the Interior Ministry, said in a press release.
Starting Friday, police can involve young people at least 16 years of age with the consent of their parents in conducting purchases in the presence of police officers. Prior to the purchase the nature of the action is thoroughly explained to the minor and the purchase made during such operation is void, meaning that the minor does not actually acquire alcohol of tobacco.
"Our aim is not to punish offenders but to find out the reasons why the violation was committed and what was conducive to it. Through involving minors in making such purchases we can check whether and to how big extent vendors make sure that the buyer is old enough to buy alcohol," said Anti Paap, chief of region at the police office for southeastern Estonia.
The Riigikogu adopted corresponding amendments to the Alcohol Act and the Tobacco Act on Dec. 20 and the amendments entered into effect on Friday.
Editor: Dario Cavegn