Queenslanders will enjoy safer nights out this Christmas after police were given greater powers to prevent street violence under the Newman LNP Government’s Safe Night Out Strategy.
Police Minister Jack Dempsey said that from this weekend police could automatically breathalyse and drug test any person who commits a serious assault offence in a public place.
“Police can use the results as evidence to assist with court proceedings – leading to stronger action against offenders and safer streets for the public,” Mr Dempsey said.
“In addition, anyone who goes on to be charged with a serious assault offence will also be required to complete a Drug and Alcohol Assessment Referral as part of their bail conditions.
“It’s a reminder coming into the silly season that dangerous behaviour will not be tolerated and can have lasting consequences for all involved.
“We’re determined to crack down on drunken violence and to make Queensland the safest place to live, work and raise a family.”
Since the launch of the strategy two months ago, police have issued more than 1800 banning orders to people who were heavily intoxicated, violent or refused to leave an area or pub when requested.
“That’s more than 1800 drinkers who would otherwise have remained in a venue, where they could potentially put themselves or other people in danger,” Mr Dempsey said.
Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Jarrod Bleijie said the strategy was succeeding.
“More than 1200 fines have been issued by both the police and the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation (OLGR) to patrons for offences such as consuming liquor in a public place or entering a venue after being refused entry,” Mr Bleijie said.
“Licensees are also in the spotlight, with more than $25,000 in fines having been issued so far for offences such as supplying liquor outside of licensed trading hours or allowing a patron to enter a venue after 3am.
“These stronger penalties mean our licensed venues are under closer watch than ever before – to ensure a safe environment for patrons and staff alike.
“Queensland school students are also experiencing the benefits of the strategy, with this year’s Year 11 and 12 students the first to complete compulsory drug and alcohol education under the strategy, just in time for their end of year celebrations.
“QPS and OLGR did a terrific job during Schoolies and will continue their focused efforts throughout December and into the New Year.”
Police Commissioner Ian Stewart said the enhanced police presence in key entertainment zones sent a clear message to troublemakers who have been able to get away with violence in the past. “Due to high visibility officers on the street in peak times, we’re already seeing a change in attitude and culture amongst party goers on our streets,” Commissioner Stewart said.
“We’re also here to provide assistance to night time revellers and a perfect example of this is our Sober Safe Centre, which is designed not as punishment, but to keep people safe. “The enhanced public safety measures implemented by government have seen 95 people taken to the Sober Safe Centre, reducing the risk to themselves and the community.”
Member for Brisbane Central Robert Cavallucci, who chairs the Safe Night Out Implementation Panel, said Safe Night Precincts across the state were embracing the strategy.
“These boards bring together members of the community to develop local safety initiatives, and already we’re seeing some very positive results coming out of this process.
“Unlike the Labor Party, which believes the only solution is no night out at all, the Newman LNP Government has a strong team to ensure all Queenslanders can enjoy a fun, safe night out.”