Senior Sergent Phil Edwards praised the work of LIAG and Gympie Regional Council in helping reduce street violence.
Senior Sergent Phil Edwards praised the work of LIAG and Gympie Regional Council in helping reduce street violence. Renee Pilcher

Taxi rank reduces drunken violence

GYMPIE’S top cop has praised the local Council and Liquor Industry Accord Group (LIAG) for playing a major part in reducing street offences and assaults.

Officer-in-charge of Gympie Police, Senior Sergeant Phil Edwards, gave credit where it was due and thanked those who contributed in bringing about improvements to the Monkland Street taxi rank.

The taxi rank was upgraded by the Gympie Regional Council after a recommendation from LIAG — which was established last year to reduce alcohol-fuelled violence.

Snr Sgt Edwards said the corral system had alleviated a lot of problems by separating people who were trying to catch cabs with pedestrians walking by. He said extra lighting around the taxi rank had also helped make the area safer at night.

“It certainly has contributed to a safer environment,” Snr Sgt Edwards said.

“Anecdotal evidence is that it has improved the situation late at night.”

Snr Sgt Edwards said taxi drivers had spoken well of the now-orderly rank and LIAG chairman Lesley Mitchell also acknowledged its contribution in reducing alcohol-related crime.

“I know there has been a reduction in poor behaviour in and around Mary Street and licensed premises,” she said.

“The (reduction of incidents) at the cab rank is mainly due to it being a lot cleaner and having an even ground surface. It is less likely people will gather there unless they are catching a cab.

“The rank is doing it’s job which is what we wanted it to do, and I generally think the huge improvement (and this is according to statistics) is mainly due to a community-approach to policing and a coordinated approach between licensees and police.”

Ms Mitchell said members of LIAG had a responsibility to look after their patrons and build relationships with Council and police so there was a mutual respect between them and law enforcement.

She said there had been a 20 per cent reduction in “general street nuisances” in the CBD in the past year and that it was probably due a coordinated approach, particularly of the hotels in the main street.

Gympie Times


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