Pleasant drop: NSW violent venues at lowest level ever

03 December, 2012

The latest list of the state's most violent venues contained the lowest number of pubs and clubs since the scheme began four years ago, Minister for Hospitality, George Souris, announced recently.

"The latest violent venues list, based on data for the past financial year, has confirmed a continuing and pleasing downward trend in the number of venues facing operating restrictions due to excessive levels of alcohol-related violence," Souris said.

"For the 18 venues named on the latest list the message is clear – you need to lift your game and take urgent corrective action to reduce violence on your premises.

"Four venues on the latest list recorded 19 or more assaults in 2011/12 and will have to abide by Level 1 operating restrictions for the next six months.

"Fourteen other venues recorded between 12 and 18 violent incidents in the year to be classified as Level 2 premises.

Souris said as well as a record low number of Level 1 and 2 premises, another 16 licensed venues have now been removed from the list altogether after their assault rates fell below the threshold of 12 incidents in a year, while two other NSW venues were included on the list for the first time.

"It is pleasing that 16 venues which successfully removed themselves from the list by achieving the most impressive reductions in alcohol-related violence.

"The Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing (OLGR) will be engaging the 18 venues on the list to encourage licensees to lift their game. OLGR will also conduct increased compliance activities across these venues to enforce responsible service of alcohol and monitor compliance with licence conditions.

"Overall, the results indicate that most licensees are getting the message that they need to operate their premises responsibly and safely or face naming and shaming and tougher operating conditions.

Souris said while no Kings Cross venues are on the violent venues list, six Kings Cross venues were just below the Level 2 threshold after recording either 10 or 11 violent incidents, with a further 10 Kings Cross venues recording between four and seven incidents. This is a total of 16 venues in a concentrated area frequented by a high number of patrons.

"The government has taken decisive action to clean up Kings Cross and make it safer for the public, having passed legislation to enshrine a range of operating conditions on high risk venues," Souris said.

He warned that all the venues on the threshold of Level 2 should consider themselves on the radar, immediately review their alcohol and security management plans and take steps to reduce the risk of alcohol-related violence.

"The government remains committed to introducing measures to reduce alcohol-related violence and anti-social behaviour in NSW communities and the Three Strikes disciplinary scheme has provided motivation for all licensed venues to lift their game or risk the ultimate sanction – loss of licence."

Souris said the NSW government is currently assessing the violent venues scheme following the lowest number of licensed premises ever listed on the register.

"The downward trend reflects the efforts of the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing (OLGR) in working with the liquor industry and NSW Police to ensure the number of violent venues remains low," Souris said.

The review will use data from research into liquor licence density, and determine if conditions and restrictions are effective across a range of venue sizes. OLGR began its analysis after the start of Round 7 of the violent venues list on 1 June 2012 with its review due to finish in time for the start of Round 9 on 1 June 2013.

Restrictions applying to Level 1 venues (19 or more violent incidents in a year) include: a 2am lockout;
ceasing alcohol service 30 minutes prior to closing; an appropriate extra security measure such as additional guards, CCTV, digital video and audio recording devices, or electronic ID scanning; drinks not to be served in glass or breakable containers after midnight; no shots, no doubles, no RTDs (ready to drink) over 5 per cent after midnight; a limit of four alcoholic drinks per customer per order after midnight; alcohol time-outs or the provision of free water and food for 10 minutes every hour after midnight; and the requirement to maintain a detailed incident register whenever trading.

Restrictions applying to Level 2 venues (12 to 18 violent incidents in a year) include: ceasing alcohol service 30 minutes before closing; no glass or breakable containers after midnight; alcohol time-outs or the provision of free water and food for 10 minutes every hour after midnight; and the requirement to maintain a detailed incident register whenever trading.