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Sofia mayor wants to employ minors

Date: 10.12.2008

If the agency for child protection will allow it, Sofia mayor Boiko Borissov said he will employ minors as undercover agents to enforce the 10pm curfew on their peers, Bulgarian newspaper Gradski said.

The meagre results from an ambitious manhunt through 29 bars and discos on Friday and Saturday night this weekend, when a total of 11 minors were found in three bars, could be attributed to "information leaks" and on the fact that the older, adult inspectors were too conspicuous in the crowd, Borissov said.

"Everyone was warned," Borissov was quoted by the newspaper as saying. Inspections involved groups of 20 to 30 inspectors - from the municipal inspectorate, the police and the tax office - were so obvious that they might as well have informed the club owners, Borissov said.

Borissov said that this weekend's checks should be seen as a deterrent rather than as a failure. The checks would become continuous, rather than regular, Borissov said.

Major targets would be the so-called children-discos on Friday and Saturday nights. Borissov said he had initiated changes to the regulations on public order, which would allow him to close clubs that were serial offenders. Borissov had also ordered municipal and healthcare inspectors to measure noise levels.

"We want club owners to feel the pressure so they will no longer allow children in their clubs after 10pm," Gradski quoted Violeta Alandzhiyska, head of the child crime unit at the Interior Ministry, as saying.

Borissov did not say when the first working night for the junior inspectors would be. But he did promise that club owners who had been caught committing a violation would be fined the maximum allowed under Bulgarian law; 5000 leva.

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