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Zero tolerance gets results

Wednesday, 6th December, 2017

The AHA’s John Green at the Theatre Royal Hotel yesterday during his visit to the city to meet with hoteliers. PICTURE: Andrew Robertson The AHA’s John Green at the Theatre Royal Hotel yesterday during his visit to the city to meet with hoteliers. PICTURE: Andrew Robertson

By Andrew Robertson

A zero tolerance to anti-social behaviour was largely behind a more than 60 per cent drop in assaults in local pubs and clubs, the Australian Hoteliers Association (AHA) says.

The Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) figures - which show a 60.5 per cent reduction since 2011 - are the lowest on record for the Barrier region. 

AHA NSW Director of Liquor and Policing John Green said yesterday the result was even better when compared with the 45 per cent average reduction across the state. 

But unlike metropolitan cities where blanket controls such as lock-out laws were needed to reduce assault rates, Mr Green said the locals had achieved the decrease through voluntary measures.  

“That’s an outstanding result and it’s something we’re very proud of, the licensees up here and the work that they’ve done with their local police and the community,” he said.

The former policeman, who was in the city yesterday meeting with local hoteliers to discuss a range of issues, singled out the Theatre Royal Hotel and its licensee Di Flack for mention. 

The hotel, which is the home of the Night Train disco, was once named one of the most violent licensed venues in the state.

“People like Di have taken action they’ve really taken charge. They’ve got a zero tolerance policy towards anti-social behaviour and we’ve seen the results in that.”

Mr Green said the rate of assaults within licensed premises compared to assaults elsewhere further highlighted the good work of hoteliers.  

“If you look at the level of assaults out in the community the level of assaults happening in and around licenced premises are falling at a far greater rate.”

Recent changes in legislation were also on the agenda at AHA sub-branch meeting held at the Tydvil Hotel yesterday, including the three strikes laws that were changed in October.

The laws were introduced by the state government a decade ago to tackle alcohol-related violence and ant-social behaviour but Mr Green said they had “unintended consequences”.  

“It used to be that the strikes would sit on the bricks and mortar, on the building itself which really impacted on the (owner),” he said.

“The owner of the business was being punished for the action of an individual licensee.”

Under the changes, any strikes incurred by a licensee are wiped from a premises when a new licensee takes over. 

Mr Green said his visits to the region gave him a chance to speak to local publicans directly about issues. 

“It’s all about listening first-hand to the concerns of local hoteliers, while at the same time informing them about state-wide issues that impact them.” 

While he wasn’t able to make it out to the hotel yesterday, Mr Green also recognised Silverton Hotel’s win in the inaugural Best Bush Pub award at the recent 2017 AHA NSW Awards for Excellence. 

“The Silverton Hotel is one of the most recognised pubs in outback NSW,” he said.

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