My team has been working hard to address the issue of alcohol-fuelled violence following a series of fatal and horrific incidents last summer.
The NSW Government took swift action to address the perception of some in our community who think it’s acceptable to go out to get drunk, and pick a fight. One of the measures saw the introduction of ID scanners at some venues located in Kings Cross to keep banned troublemakers out and away from the area.
I’m pleased to report that since the scanners came into effect three months ago, they have proven to be a deterrent and are serving their purpose.
More than 415,000 people have had their ID scanned into the system. I’m pleased to report the vast majority of banned troublemakers have got the message and are staying away, with only five people caught at the door by the ID scanners since they started operating.
The ID scanners were introduced on 13 June and are linked to a central system that alerts venue staff and police when a patron, who has been issued with a temporary or long-term banning order, attempts to come inside. There are 98 people currently subject to long-term banning orders across the Kings Cross and Sydney CBD precincts, while another 175 people have been issued with temporary banning orders in the Kings Cross zone.
The system captures the name, date of birth, address and photograph from the ID. It’s important to remember the information isn’t able to be accessed by venue staff, and is only used by police investigating incidents where a crime may have occurred, or to enforce a banning order.
There are 35 Kings Cross venues that have been identified as high risk venues and are required to operate the ID scanners when trading between 9pm and 1.30am. These venues trade after midnight and have a capacity of more than 120 patrons.
With the arrival of spring and the busy summer months ahead, it is positive to see the ID scanners working effectively to keep troublemakers away. We want to send a clear message that if you are banned – stay away or you will face fines of up to $11,000.
In recent weeks, we’ve also launched an advertising campaign encouraging people to Stop Before It Gets Ugly.
Preventing alcohol-related violence is a key priority for the NSW Government and this is the first government ad campaign to target the issue.
We want to send a clear message, particularly to young men aged between 18 and 35, that the amount alcohol a person consumes is a matter of personal responsibility, which also takes into account a person’s behaviour as a consequence of their drinking.
The campaign calls on young men to know their limits, recognise when their behaviour starts to change, and stop before they become violent. On the flip side, the campaign also calls on young men to watch out for their mates if they’ve had too much to drink and help them get home safely.
The NSW Government understands that changing attitudes in our society takes time. We have taken a multi-pronged approach that we hope will start to shift social attitudes and drive positive behavioural change.
For more information visit, www.nsw.gov.au/stopbeforeitgetsugly.
Published in The Indian Sun