New measures rolled out to target drug and alcohol fuelled violence

Published 21st February, 2014 in Police & Justice

Minister for Police and Emergency Services Michael Gallacher today said that Police will be working closely with the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing as the Government rolls out its latest measures on Monday to tackle drug and alcohol-fuelled violence.

Busy Sydney city street
Busy Sydney city street

“The NSW Government has taken strong action to reduce alcohol-related violence,” Minister Gallacher said.

“There is no one size fits all solution but we are committed to implementing measures that will be effective to deal with problem areas.

“This Government continues to provide Police with the powers, resources and backing to deal with those who may potentially cause problems on our streets.

“Since 2011, we have increased the number of Police by 420 and we are on target to delivering 859 by 2015.

“We have backed Police by giving them additional Move On powers and by creating the offence of Intoxicated and Disorderly which will be backed up by fines of $1,100 – an increase of more than five times.

“The Government has also introduced tough new one punch laws and mandatory minimum sentencing for those convicted of violent offences and who are under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

To further target drug and alcohol-fuelled violence the Government will start a numbers of new measures from Monday, February 24:

  • 1.30am lockouts and 3am cease service of alcohol across the Sydney CBD Entertainment and Kings Cross precincts;
  • A ban on takeaway alcohol sales after 10pm across NSW;
  • A two year freeze on new liquor licences and approvals for existing licences across the Sydney CBD Entertainment Precinct; and bans up to 12 months if they are caught breaching responsible service of alcohol requirements.

NSW Police Force Central Metropolitan Region Commander, Assistant Commissioner Mark Murdoch, said police would be working closely with the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing to ensure compliance.

“We have established Operation Compello to provide a highly-visible police presence across the precinct and crackdown on alcohol-related crime and anti-social behaviour,” Assistant Commissioner Murdoch said.

“In addition, the operation will focus on enforcement of the Liquor Act and amendments to ensure licensed premises are adopting good management practices.

“We welcome the new legislative changes and any initiative that will help make the community a safer place,” Assistant Commissioner Murdoch said.

Office of Liquor, Gaming & Racing Executive Director Paul Newson said hotels, registered clubs, nightclubs and licensed karaoke bars across both the Sydney CBD Entertainment and Kings Cross precincts will be required to enforce a 1.30am lockout and cease alcohol service at 3am.

“Small bars with a maximum patron capacity of 60 people, most restaurants and tourism accommodation establishments are exempt as they are considered lower risk.

“From Monday, if a patron leaves or is ejected from an affected licensed venue after 1.30am then they cannot re-enter the venue or get into any other licensed venue in the precincts.

“At 3am, alcohol service will cease at licensed venues across the two precincts. Patrons will be permitted to remain on the premises until closing time and enjoy food, non-alcoholic beverages and entertainment.

“We strongly encourage full cooperation from venues and patrons during the transition to these new measures.

“Licensees have been warned that they need to comply with the new conditions otherwise they will face potential fines of up to $11,000 and/or imprisonment of up to 12 months as well as strikes under the Government’s Three Strikes disciplinary scheme,” Mr Newson said.

This NSW Governments recent package to target drug and alcohol-fuelled violence includes:

  • Eight year mandatory minimum sentence for those convicted under new one punch laws where the offender is intoxicated by drugs and/or alcohol, plus new mandatory minimum sentences for violent assaults where intoxicated by drugs and/or alcohol;
  • Introduction of 1.30am lockouts and 3am last drinks across an expanded CBD precinct to include Kings Cross to Darling Harbour, The Rocks to Haymarket and Darlinghurst;
  • New state-wide 10pm closing time for all bottle shops and liquor stores;
  • Increasing the maximum sentence to 25 years for the illegal supply and possession of steroids – up from two years;
  • Increased on-the-spot fines to $1,100 for continued intoxicated and disorderly behaviour disobeying a police move-on order – an increase of more than five times;
  • Community awareness and media campaign to address the culture of binge drinking and the associated drug and alcohol related violence;
  • Free buses running every ten minutes from Kings Cross to the CBD to connect with existing NightRide services on Friday and Saturday nights;
  • Remove voluntary intoxication by drugs or alcohol as a mitigating factor when courts determine sentences;
  • Increasing maximum penalties by two years where drugs and/or alcohol are aggravating factors for violent crimes including assault causing grievous bodily harm, reckless bodily harm, assault against police, affray and sexual assault;
  • Enabling Police to impose an immediate CBD precinct ban of up to 48 hours for trouble-makers;
  • Introduction of a periodic risk-based licencing scheme with higher fees imposed for venues and outlets that have later trading hours, poor compliance histories or are in high risk locations;
  • A precinct-wide freeze on liquor licences for new pubs and clubs will be introduced.

Image credit: rorem / Shutterstock.com

Published 21st February, 2014 in Police & Justice