London, Feb 19 (UNI) British kids face getting a criminal record if they are caught holding a beer can, according to government plans.
The measure would mean any person under the age of 18 caught just holding an alcoholic beverage may be tainted with a conviction, which would need to be declared to future employers.
The proposal follows warnings from Home Secretary Jacqui Smith that the police would be given greater powers to stop youngsters from having alcohol.
It was put forward yesterday by Home Office minister Vernon Coaker, who said officials were examining whether to make possession of alcohol by someone under the age of 18 an offence, the Daily Mail reported.
Speaking at the launch of the Home Office's Action Plan for Tackling Violent Crime, he said, ''It's something we are not saying we are going to do but it is something that has been raised with us.'' Campaigners have warned that such tougher sanctions will criminalise teenagers for a very minor offence.
Currently, police officers can only remove alcohol from youngsters if they believe that they are about to consume it and can only issue a fine as punishment.
UNI XC SKB RN1900