Alcohol violence decreases
HOTELIERS in Stanthorpe have thanked the Liquor Industry Action Group for contributing to a marked decrease in violence arising from liquor consumption.
According to Stanthorpe Police Officer in Charge Senior Sergeant Mark Ireland, alcohol-fuelled violence is down on this time last year.
Between April and May 2014, five assaults related to alcohol consumption occurred in Stanthorpe, compared with just one this year.
Arrests for drunk and disorderly are also slightly down, with two in 2015 compared with three this time last year.
"In general the co-operation between police and licensees has been responsible for the reduction in anti-social behaviour," Snr Sgt Ireland said. "It's getting much better but it will probably never be perfect in our eyes.
"We're lucky the end of late trade is 2am. We'd be hard-pushed if it were any later."
The LIAG is a co-operative between local licensees and police, with members sharing information and techniques to practice the responsible service of alcohol (RSA).
After a failed attempt at establishing a working LIAG about three years ago, licensees say the new group is working well.
Coralie Wilson from O'Mara's Hotel takes a personal approach to dealing with drunken behaviour at her venue, refusing to serve people who have had too much and even driving them home.
"We don't care about making the extra dollar. If they're playing up we just take them home," she said.
"Over-serving just causes far too much trouble."
Ms Wilson said the LIAG was a great way for licensees to share information and work together to fix any problems.
"It gives us the chance to look at the trends in other venues," she said.
"We're all getting together to discuss things and collectively fix issues."
Ms Wilson said she would never consider applying for a late-night trading licence, citing pre-loading as one of the central problems to alcohol-fuelled violence.
"We'll always shut at midnight. Opening later is something we just wouldn't think about doing," she said.
"A lot of people stay at home drinking then arrive at venues at 12 o'clock.
"You can't monitor their drinking behaviour before that time."
Snr Sgt Ireland said the late-night licence in town, The Central Hotel, had been working hard to curb the trend of alcohol-fuelled violence, with strict RSA guidelines and added security.
He admitted most problems occurred once the patrons left the late-night premises.
"It's between 2am and 4am when the problem is at its worst," he said.
"The cab situation is improving but you can have all the transport you like and people will still hang around out the front of the venue."