WARRNAMBOOL police have welcomed proposed new laws expected to ban anyone found guilty of drunken violence from licensed premises for at least two years.
Senior Sergeant Shane Keogh said he had yet to see details of the state government proposal, but the changes appeared on face value to add to Warrnambool’s highly-effective Liquor Licensing Accord (LLA).
Warrnambool police can already apply for exclusion orders through courts, which generally ban people from being in the central business district between 10pm and 6am for 12 months.
The Victorian government election promise to ban those involved in drunken violence is expected to be introduced in coming months.
But while a government spokesman said the reform was “well progressed’’, he refused to reveal how such bans would be enforced, other than to say that would be announced “in due course’’.
Senior Sergeant Keogh said under the Warrnambool LLA any person found guilty of violence on licensed premises could be banned for between three to 12 months.
“This proposal looks like an extension of that,” he said.
“The Liquor Licensing Accord in Warrnambool has worked very well. It’s a highly effective tool. It keeps people out of hotels and there are generally a dozen people on the banned patrons list.”
Senior Sergeant Keogh said the pleasing aspect of the banned patrons policy was that generally people did not reoffend when they were allowed back on licensed premises.
“Licensed premises stick together through the accord and it works well. Hotels, clubs and restaurants don’t want trouble, they want a family-welcoming, fun atmosphere,” he said.
“We in Warrnambool also have the added tool of exclusion orders which police can apply for through the courts. I haven’t seen the details of what is now proposed but it looks like the government is trying to introduce an extra penalty outside of normal court sanctions.”
The Coalition promised, as part of its sentencing reform agenda in the lead-up to the 2010 election that if it came to power, it would introduce legislation forbidding any person found by a court to have committed a criminal assault under the influence of alcohol from entering a licensed premises in Victoria for a minimum of two years.
The ban would apply to all licensed premises where alcohol can be consumed, including all nightclubs, bars, pubs and licensed restaurants and cafes. An infringement of the ban could render a person liable for a jail sentence.
The ban would also take effect at the completion of any jail term, or from the date of conviction if no sentence was handed down, and judicial figures would be able to impose a ban of more than two years where it was considered appropriate.
Police Association secretary Greg Davies said any measure aimed at reducing alcohol-fuelled violence and anti-social behaviour was welcomed.