Dealing with Alcohol Related Violence


There have been discussions ongoing for a proposal to have earlier shutting hours to prevent Alcohol Related Violence. This post proposes an alternative to create discussion about the issue.


My proposal centers around modifying the behaviour in a few places and one of the keys is increasing the responsibility of those selling the alcohol. They are not the single creator of these problems, but a key player. Allowing establishments to keep filling our streets and venues with very drunk and unruly people is irresponsible and illogical for the public who they come in contact with. It seems that the main reason violence of this kind is rarely a problem in Casinos and Airports, Airlines or Ships is because
— consumption and behaviour is closely managed by those serving the people and
— they pay for security backup personnel or services

Trends

I am unaware of any specific research into trends amongst those who do offend, but this would be useful as a starting point. So, I wonder if the following assumptions are true and my suggestion is based upon this logic:

Pre-loading

If pre-loading happens early enough in the evening, we have little control over it unless those being sold to are under-age. I hope that the TPP doesn’t flood the market with cheap alternatives. We should not let any of these drinks become any cheaper and ID should be observed more often.

Precincts

It seems, based upon events like violence, that most of the incidents that we are trying to address are happening in precincts where there are night clubs, pubs and other lightly managed environments. Incidents involving other outlets such as Airports, Casinos and maybe some restaurants are minor or non-existent, because they are managed differently.

I am not aware of incidents in precincts where the alcohol has been from personal/pre-loading alone, but is from a combination. It would seem that most of the incidents happen after someone or a group has been drinking in a precinct area, potentially from the pubs and clubs in that precinct.

Who’s Involved?

Surely those selling alcohol are very responsible for enabling the problems, and like going after the drug dealers, the burden should be addressed to these who have participated in the problem by supplying the alcohol.

Tax burden and costs as close to the source as possible

I am keen for any cost of the management of these behaviours remain with those who participate, ie. Tax or burden as close to the source as possible. This would be those selling the alcohol, and those consuming it, and no others. If it invokes costs for security services, security personnel, breath-testing equipment, then this is the cost of doing business and there is an opportunity to pass this on to the customer.

Proposal

My proposed changes would be:

  • All restrictions to be targeted to precincts that have been designated as high-risk areas. This may mean that regional areas, like parts of Cairns, Townsville and other areas might be exempt, but it might mean that places like parts (but not all) of the Gold Coast and Maroochydore come under the restriction for a period of time due to more recent events. This would change (a precinct established or extended) if there was a precedent such as one death or two serious incidents and remain in effect for 2 years. This might encourage self-management by establishments in these areas to avoid being further restricted.
  • Stop all trade from bottle shops within a 10k radius of the precinct after 22:00 with a reasonable phased in approach for licenses already in place.
  • All EFTPOS machines in the precinct are changed so that after 20:00, the person buying alcohol must supply an ID and this ID is recorded in the transaction. The EFTPOS Log must show the cashier’s Name and the receiver’s ID
    — It may have some people think twice about drinking more as they are reminded why they must show their ID
    — The logs of purchasers and sellers could be used to see which suppliers are selling to whom after 20:00 (for patterns/investigations)
    — Forces the seller of the alcohol to look at the license or Photo ID and reject if the person is under age or already drunk.
  • Prohibit drinking on the street within the known and accepted precincts so that pre-loading and continual drinking is not possible.
  • Bouncers on doors of clubs and certain pubs are there (now) to decide whether a person or group can come in based on meeting some dress code and their state. Airports and Casinos tend to manage situations with their own security for the sake of their patrons. In a move to have pubs and clubs manage situations more responsibly, I propose that clubs and pubs be changed in these ways:
  • — They ensure that all coming in agree to the fact that after 22:00, they can be held in this establishment until they are sober enough to leave (Pub/Club takes responsibility for them inside)
    — This might encourage better handling (reduction) of the sale of alcohol to those already drunk and allow them to think of better ways of dealing with any that become unruly inside their establishment. This should reduce unruly behaviour inside the establishment. They could still sell them options to help them sober up, food, coffee, showers.
    — After 22:00, pubs/clubs also need to ensure that they do not let drunks out of the establishment to either find another place to drink or cause trouble. This establishment has been responsible for the most recent access to alcohol and should remain responsible until the patron is sober or orderly enough to leave. Video footage of the establishment’s exit doors and process for approving a patron exiting should be available if an investigation is required.
    — Another option here could be to add the EFTPOS ID recording also to drive the behaviours as outlined in the original EFTPOS paragraph.
    — If pubs/clubs still want to sell alcohol to their own chosen closing time, they must cater for the fact that they are still responsible for releasing their patrons to the public in a state where they are not drunk or unruly. They self-manage their own closing times and last drinks.

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