Sunshine Coast Daily

Police Union: change opening hours

THE Queensland Police Union of Employees (QPUE) submission to the Law, Justice and Safety Committee Inquiry into Alcohol-Related Violence in Queensland said alcohol-related violence remained a significant social problem with serious consequences for the community, despite recent amendments to law aiming to minimise harm arising from the misuse and abuse of alcohol.

The submission labelled current venue trading hours as “excessive and irresponsible”.

Their solution was replacing glass with plastic or similar cups in 'high risk' venues by end of 2009 and for all venues not in 'entertainment precincts' to close at midnight.

QPUE suggested that venues in 'entertainment precincts' close at 2am.

The exceptions would be special events such as Indy Week, Anzac day and New Year's Eve.

“Police and/or ambulance officers provide the first official response to alcohol-related violence, whether the alcohol has been consumed at private or licensed premises throughout Queensland,” the submission stated.

“Our police officer members face many challenges responding to alcohol-related violence, which can impact on their overall effectiveness and efficiency whilst carrying out their duties.

“Logically, these challenges can and often affect their personal lives.

“Reducing late trading hours will significantly reduce the negative impacts alcohol-related violence has on our emergency services workers, police and front line health workers, when late trading venues close and stop trading for the night, patrons will not be able to continue to purchase and consume alcohol on the premises, they will have no real option other than to travel home.

“In turn, giving emergency, police and other health workers much-needed respite.

“Studies point towards a particular connection between alcohol-related violence and inadequately-run licensed premises, and there is also an emergent consensus that the vast majority of alcohol-related problems arise from a relatively small number of pubs, clubs and taverns.

“Australian studies suggest that almost half of all alcohol is sold and approximately 30 per cent consumed on licensed premises and that 60 per cent of all alcohol-related incidents attended by police occur on or within sight of licensed premises...

“QPUE acknowledges and recognises the need for visible police presence in order to curb alcohol-related violence, at and around licensed venues to ensure action is taken against licensees, staff and patrons for breaches of liquor and other legislation.”

The submission can be found at the QPUE website www.qpu.asn.au

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