A Mildura Rural City Councillor has called for a trial to be implemented on restricted late night access to night clubs similar to that trialed successfully in Whyalla South Australia.
Cr Max Thorburn said a similar trial at Mildura would be a positive step towards reduction in victim reported crime and a step towards pegging back night club hours.
He said he was disappointed that the law allowed night clubs in Mildura to open until 3am on Good Friday morning, tying up valuable police resources into the early hours on a day they should not have to be on duty to oversees intoxicated persons.
“Two of the nightclubs did the right thing and closed before 1am but another opened until 3am.”
Cr Thorburn said that in Whyalla, South Australian police have reported that victim reported crime has almost halved following a trial of a 1am lockout at pubs and clubs across the city.
The lockout means patrons were not allowed access to any licensed premises after 1am any day of the week.
Police believe the trial has been a great success.
Records show a fall of 45% in either arrests or reports within licensed premises, or vicinity of pubs and clubs, compared to the previous three years. The number of times police were called to attend disturbances also dropped.
At one particular licensed premises, the number of reported disturbances needed police to attend reduced by more than 50 per cent, compared to the previous three years.
Operations Inspector for the Eyre and Western Local Service Area, Inspector Scott Denny, said licensees in Whyalla have shown strong support of the lockout.
“By working together we have seen a very noticeable improvement in patron’s behaviour at licensed premises,” Inspector Denny said.
Cr Thorburn said that in the past licencees have had too much power over decisions made which could reduce binge drinking and unsatisfactory behaviour caused by the excessive consumption of alcohol.
“We need to change the culture of pub crawling or drinking heavily at home before attending licensed venues,” he said.
Cr Thorburn said he had never been in favor of the late night taxi zone operating in 8th away from the nightclub area simply because operators did not want the customers they intoxicated from catching a cab in ranks which area designated nearby.
“The night club operators are happy to continue serving alcohol to their customers but not prepared to wear the consequences when they are involved in incidents which result in the venue securing black marks against their licence.”
“If there was no nightclub access beyond 1am the congregation of people outside a night club
“By being able to better regulate attendance times at licensed venues, we have been able to reduce large numbers of patrons congregating outside licensed venues, as well as changing the culture of ‘pub crawling’ or drinking heavily at home before attending
In 2010, licensees in Whyalla agreed to trial a 1am lockout for a period of 12 months. The trial was designed to reduce the number of alcohol related crimes occurring in the early hours, particularly over the weekends, as well as assisting licensees in being able to better monitor patron numbers and behaviours at licensed venues.
Following extensive reviews and consultation with Whyalla Police, SAPOL’s Licensing Enforcement Branch, Consumer and Business Services, South Australian Hotels Association and licensees in Whyalla, it was agreed that the 1am lock out was a success and would be implemented on a permanent basis across Whyalla.