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Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Support for earlier pub lockout time

Shepparton police, health agency, security firm see merit in locking people out of late-night licensed premises earlier to help control drug and alcohol-fuelled violence.

ALEXANDRA BOLKAS January 23, 2014 4:59am

Shepparton police Inspector Ian Bull.


A top Shepparton policeman says earlier lockout times could reduce the city’s alcohol-related assaults and crimes.

His comments come as the NSW Government moves to implement sweeping alcohol reforms.

These include a 1.30am venue lockout and a freeze on alcohol served after 3am in Sydney’s central business district.

Shepparton police area Inspector Ian Bull said alcohol and drug-fuelled violence was a significant contributor to offences across Greater Shepparton.

‘‘Police are dealing with its effects on a daily basis and it poses a great risk to police officers and the community,’’ he said.

The Shepparton Liquor Accord chairman said the city’s 3am voluntary lockout scheme negotiated with individual licensees had proved successful.

But he would be open to discussion to bring the time forward.

‘‘I’ll be liaising with late-night venue operators to discuss how the voluntary lockout is going, I’d be happy to open discussion about whether the time is still suitable,’’ Insp Bull said.

Greater Shepparton has 20 general licenses, six late-night venue licenses and seven full-club licences.

He said a major issue surrounding late-night liquor trading was the ability of businesses and infrastructure to support drug or alcohol-affected revellers.

‘‘Earlier lockouts stops people wandering from venue to venue and traditionally that’s when problems occur such as threats, assaults and property damage,’’ he said.

‘‘Over the last 25 to 30 years with the extension of trading hours late into the night expectations have changed and habits have changed.

 

‘‘There is a strong argument for restricting licensing hours. We need to look at changing lockout times.’’

Primary Care Connect chief executive Hamish Fletcher threw his support behind the earlier lockout times and a ban on venues serving alcohol after 3am.

‘‘Alcohol-related violence is a big problem in the community,’’ Mr Fletcher said.

‘‘We know that if you change the environment, you change the culture.

‘‘As a community we need to own and address alcohol-related violence.’’

Takeova Security owner Peter Carpinelli provides guards for the Goulburn Valley Hotel.

 

He said early lockouts would ease the pressure on security guards having to knock back drunk patrons.

‘‘A 1.30am lockout would put less pressure on security guards to refuse your entry,’’ Mr Carpinelli said.

‘‘Nobody likes to be told they’ve had too much, it creates an issue.

‘‘If you can say it’s the venue’s policy, not because you’re too drunk — it would make our job a lot easier.’’

He said refusing drunk patrons entry to venues often ‘‘sparked aggression’’ among revellers.

But he stressed alcohol-related violence most commonly occurred in the streets — not in licensed venues.

‘‘Alcohol violence happens out on streets, not in the venues,’’ he said.

‘‘It happens because people are drinking more at home and coming out already fuelled.’’

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