Danish News Round-Up: Beverage wholesaler body wants ban on mid-teens buying beer and wine - The Post

Danish News Round-Up: Beverage wholesaler body wants ban on mid-teens buying beer and wine

VSOD contends that 16 and 17-year-olds should not be able to buy drinks with an alcohol content of less than 16.5 percent – even if it hits its members in the pocket

With an alcohol content of 11 percent, Aperol Spritz is fair game for the teens (photo: Pixabay)
September 17th, 2019 1:36 pm| by Ben Hamilton

It might surprise many people to learn that VSOD, the body that looks after the interests of wine and spirits wholesalers in Denmark, is strongly against the current legislation that permits children aged 16-17 to buy beverages with an alcohol content of less than 16.5 percent.

This means the teens are able to buy almost all beer, wine and alcopop drinks – in effect, the only drinks they’re prohibited from buying are hard liquor.

Some manufacturers deliberately produce drinks with an alcohol content of just below 16.5 percent to ensure the teens can buy them.

Bad for young brains
In an interview with the publication Danmark, the president of the VSOD interest group, Carsten Suhrke, contends that such drinks are “products for adults” and that “it is not responsible to sell alcohol to minors”.

Peter Konow, the head of Alkohol & Samfund, welcomed the stance, explaining that “with puberty galloping, the young brains of 16 to 17-year-olds are not yet developed, and that it is a really bad idea to pour alcohol into them.”

However, Niels Hald, the head of the Bryggeriforeningen brewers association, isn’t convinced that raising the age limit to 18 would work. “Shouldn’t we get the 16 age-limit to work before raising it to 18?” he asked.

Number of outstanding criminal charges piling up
The public prosecutors have 47,390 outstanding cases to bring to court, reports Berlingske. The number of people facing criminal charges that are at least 180 days old, but who have not yet been tried, has quadrupled in the past three years. The lengthy wait is problematic as witness memories tend to fade with time. In 2016, just one year after the February 2015 Copenhagen Shootings that many blame for the refocusing of police resources on national security, the number of outstanding cases was 11,394. Other major events, such as the Ice Hockey World Championship in May 2018 and the recent general election, are also blamed for diverting police resources.

Visitation zones set up following gangland shooting in Ishøj
Visitation zones have been set up in Greater Copenhagen following a gangland shooting on Sunday night in which 30 bullets were fired in Ishøj, resulting in one fatality. The shooting is believed to be linked to an ongoing civil war between two factions of the Brothas gang based in Indre Nørrebro/Nordvest and Hunde/Greve, two suburbs close to Ishøj. The zones, which will be in operation in the areas until noon on September 30, will give the police permission to stop and search anyone they might suspect of carrying a weapon.

Three charged with attempted murder in connection to 2013 shooting
Copenhagen Police have charged three men, aged 28, 29 and 38, with attempted murder in connection to a shooting carried out on 11 April 2013 on Lundtoftegade in Nørrebro. The three men are charged with firing at least 30 shots at a then 19-year-old man, who was wearing a bulletproof vest, but was hit in the head. Charges against two of the three men in custody, who are members of the Brothas gang, were dropped in 2013 due to a lack of evidence. However, new evidence has since come to light.

Overtaking ban for haulage trucks on half of the country’s motorways
The stretches of motorway on which haulage trucks are not permitted to overtake is to be hugely increased, raising the total length from 230 to 500 km, which corresponds to almost half the country’s network. Vejdirektoratet considers overtaking manoeuvres involving haulage trucks to be dangerous to other motorists. Additionally, the transport minister, Benny Engelbrecht, believes the measure will lead to fewer tailbacks as cars group up waiting for the manoeuvres to be completed.

Tackling inattention behind the wheel with new campaign
The police are currently conducting a campaign to encourage motorists to focus their attention on the road ahead of them, and not be tempted to use a handheld device or turn to address other passengers. The Rådet for Sikker Trafik road safety body blames inattentive drivers for a third of all the fatalities on Danish roads, citing cases of bizarre behaviour such as applying make-up, reading a newspaper and eating from a plate. Officers will view drivers using binoculars to check on their habits, ready to intervene if necessary. From September 10, the penalty for using a handheld device whilst driving has been increased from a 1,500 kroner fine to also include a clip on your driving licence. The punishment for general inattention is a 1,000 kroner fine, which increases to 2,500 kroner if it results in a “serious breach of road safety”.