PORTLAND nightlife just got a major trim with the city’s Club 101 cutting back its Saturday night trading hours to 1am in a groundbreaking agreement with police.
Inspector Don Downes of the Glenelg and Southern Grampians police district said Portland and Hamilton area police had assessed high-risk community locations across the region as part of the statewide Operation Bia.
He said Club 101, based at the Richmond Henty Hotel, had been identified as a high-risk location.
“Operation Bia is aimed at focusing attention and targeting resources at trying to reduce harm and risks to the community,” Inspector Downes said.
“We have an excellent relationship with licensees as part of the Portland Liquor Accord and it was through talks that we have been able to come to an agreement about reduced trading hours at Club 101.”
It is understood Club 101 had already reduced trading hours on Friday night to Saturday morning from 3am to 2am and on Saturday night to Sunday morning from 3am to 1am.
No other venue in Portland is open to trade after 1am.
“In the process of trying to reduce harm to the community we have been able to come to an agreement which is advantageous for the community,” Inspector Downes said.
“Saturday nights in Portland have caused us the most concern so we are delighted those hours have been reduced.
“The licensees will still have the ability to occasionally have permits for functions.
“We think this is a greater collaborative outcome and police are thankful for the good working relationship we have with licensees in Portland.”
Inspector Downes said it was hoped that reduced trading hours would help curb anti-social behaviour by patrons.
“We’ll be assess how it works,” he said.
“There may be other venues in our police service area (in Hamilton) where the community could benefit from reduced hours and we will continue working to identify those venues and negotiate with licensees or through the Victorian Commission for Gaming and Liquor Reform to provide other safer outcomes for the community.”
Portland police station officer-in-charge Senior Sergeant Russell Tharle said the precinct around Club 101 had been an area of concern in relation to community safety.
He said police regularly patrolled the area and were frequently called by hotel staff, patrons and victims about anti-social behaviour.
Senior Sergeant Tharle said that it was through negotiations with the Club 101 licensees, police and the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation that an agreement had been reached.
“There has been an ongoing process which has involved gathering information about the licensed venue. We probably get called or attend that precinct every week and it is a drain on our resources,” he said.
“Reducing hours at Club 101 is a great proactive step. Credit has to be given to the Richmond Henty for coming on board and being part of this agreement,” he said.
Richmond Henty Hotel publican Mark McIntyre was yesterday not available for comment although a spokeswoman said the hotel would issue a statement in the near future.