Jon Stoddart, who represents the Association of Chief Police Officers, welcomed plans to ban drinks sales below the cost of VAT and duty but said more action was needed.
Speaking at the National Pubwatch conference, he said: “I do think it’s worth looking at an off-licence tax. There needs to be more equality between the on-trade and the off-trade.
“It’s unfair that they can sell for less than 22p per unit. It’s literally giving alcohol to children at pocket money prices, the likes of which I haven’t seen since I was 14 or 15.”
He said selling alcohol at rock-bottom prices was “unacceptable in terms of safety, public health and in terms of the message it sends out”.