Fighting violence successfully without lockouts

By Vanessa Cavasinni, editor Australian Hotelier

Data from the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) shows that assault rates in licensed premises on New South Wales’ Central Coast have more than halved since 2008. The Australian Hotels Association NSW credits this result to the collaborative effort between hoteliers, police and the local community.

The results showed that in the Gosford Local Government Area (LGA), assaults were down 50.6 per cent from 2008 figures, and are at their lowest since 1995. This was mirrored in the neighbouring Wyong LGA, where assault rates in licensed premises were down 49.3 per cent since 2008.

In the last 12 months alone, assaults in pubs and clubs across the entire Central Coast have fallen by 32 per cent, and John Green, director of liquor and policing for AHA NSW, believes that the communal ‘barred from one, barred from all’ policy among hoteliers has seen to that figure.

“This strategy sees patrons committing violence, barred from all participating premises in the liquor accord,” said Green.

“Rather than shutting venues earlier or locking out law abiding patrons, this strategy targets anti-social people. It also sends a strong message to everyone that your own behaviour and that of your mates is what allows you to enter venues. Abuse that and you can spend time on the sidelines.”

Conversely, drug use has skyrocketed in the Central Coast area since 2005, with incidences of use or possession of amphetamines up 333 per cent in the Gosford LGA and 371 per cent in the Wyong LGA.

Green will continue his consultations with regional hoteliers today, meeting with Central Coast hoteliers to discuss a range of issues, including 10pm bottle shop closure. Last week BOCSAR released its quarterly report regarding assaults in New South Wales, with the report met by caution from many of those in the liquor industry.

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