Coward punches will not be tolerated

REVELERS who throw a coward punch in Warrnambool face a three-year ban at licensed venues.

UNITED: Warrnambool police officer Inspector Gary Coombes is working with local publicans Alister Porter, Whalers Hotel, Mark McIlroy, Rafferty's Tavern, and Joshua O'Dowd, Seanchai to remove and ban violent patrons from licensed venues. Picture: Rob Gunstone

UNITED: Warrnambool police officer Inspector Gary Coombes is working with local publicans Alister Porter, Whalers Hotel, Mark McIlroy, Rafferty's Tavern, and Joshua O'Dowd, Seanchai to remove and ban violent patrons from licensed venues. Picture: Rob Gunstone

The ban would include all pubs, restaurants, cafes, bottle shops and sporting clubs that have signed onto the Warrnambool Liquor Licensing Accord.

Warrnambool police inspector Gary Coombes said the licensees wanted to take a clear stance against violence in the community.

He said there had been an incident recently involving a coward punch and it was agreed collectively that anyone who committed the violent act would face a three year ban from all of the establishments that  were part of the accord.

“That’s the standard that they wanted to set and we’re very happy to go along with that and I think it sends a strong message to the community that we’re not tolerating that sort of behavior,” he said. “So they’re done for three years.”

Inspector Coombes said it was important that the licensees had the power to make the decision.

Rafferty's Tavern manager Mark McIlroy said all the venues would band together and would not tolerate any violence.

“If it does happen within one of our venues in our accord we’re going to stand together and not allow them to enter our venues,” he said.

“Especially the coward punch, it’s not going to be tolerated. Not in the community and not in our venues. 

“We want to create a safe and happy environment for everybody.

“Everyone should be able to go out and have a great time and that’s what we want to encourage.”

Mr McIlroy said the licensees and the police supported each other to prevent violence.

“Back in the old days that never used to happen,” he said. “This is the way of the future.” 

Inspector Coombes said people could be identified from police reports or other incidents and the licensees could then decide what penalty would be imposed.

He said the accord met quarterly and on average about five violent incidents were discussed.