MPs fail ‘guess the age’ test

MPs from across the UK failed to spot a potential under age drinker in a test designed to highlight how how difficult it is for retail staff to identify teenage lawbreakers without proper ID.

Six teenagers mingled with MPs who were asked to guess their age.

Only 5% of the MPs’ guesses were correct, with nearly half failing to spot that 17-year-old Sachin was too young to buy alcohol.

The test was carried out by retail union Usdaw as part of its campaign for the government to enforce a culture of ‘No ID, No Sale’ posters in stores across the UK.

The campaign was startedin an effort to reduce the 20,000 physical assaults on shop staff every year.

An Usdaw survey of more than 600 shopworkers recently found that asking for ID or refusing an illegal sale was the major trigger for incidents of verbal abuse, intimidation and vicious assaults in stores. 

Store workers are also expected to routinely deal with age restrictions on a wide variety of potentially lethal goods including alcohol, solvents, knives and fireworks.

“This test was intended to make MPs see how difficult it is for our members to spot an under age drinker when they try to buy alcohol,” said John Hannett, Usdaw general secretary.

“The reality is that our members can be fined £80 if they sell alcohol to under age customers, but I’d challenge anyone to honestly say they could accurately tell if the average teenager is 15, 16, 17 or 18.”

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