Port Fairy police are organising a formal liquor licensing accord in the town in an effort to provide a united front against alcohol-fuelled social issues.
Sergeant Dave Walkley said there were more than 50 permanent liquor licenses in Port Fairy, including businesses, cafes, pubs, sporting clubs and accommodation providers.
He said a formal accord, to be signed by licensees on July 21, aimed to tackle issues specific to the town.
"The accord is all about community safety," Sergeant Walkley said.
"We want this to be an environment where anyone can walk down the street at any time of the day or night without fear of being harassed or assaulted.
"We are continually dealing with issues and we want to be proactive rather than reactive.
"This is not about us being the fun police. We don't want a sterile environment.
"We want people to go out, have a drink and enjoy themselves, but we also want to prevent anti-social behaviour which could lead to injury or property damage."
Sergeant Walkley said Port Fairy was a tourist town, with a high per capita number of liquor licenses.
He said sewage testing indicated Port Fairy also had the highest alcohol consumption rate in Victoria.
The sergeant said issues in relation to drink driving had been tackled through vigorous enforcement during his two years in the town but there were still problems around alcohol involving assaults, property damage and underage drinking.
"The purpose of the formal accord is for key stakeholders to work together to address issues," he said.
"If someone is banned from one licensed premise they will be banned from all. We want a consistent approach to liquor licensing within the town."
Sergeant Walkley said initially the accord would primarily involve the four hotels in Port Fairy but then expand to sporting clubs, the Port Fairy Folk Festival committee and other liquor license holders.
He said a similar accord worked in Warrnambool where key stakeholders were signatories.
The Warrnambool banned patrons list usually has about 20 people at any time who are excluded from hotels.
"What we find is that people coming to Port Fairy generally have the opportunity to have a drink at a pub, restaurant or at their accommodation," he said.
"We already have an informal accord with the hotels, but we feel it's time to formalise and expand that initiative.
"We, as a community, need to make a stand on some things."
The police officer said four people were already subject to banning notices at various Port Fairy licensed premises.
"Under the accord a banned patron could be on the banned patrons list for from three months to indefinite," he said.
"Ultimately recommendations will be reviewed by police, there will be consideration about whether there is criminal action involved and each case will be treated on its merits.
"Being on that banned patrons list will have a significant impact on an individual and their social life."
Anyone charged with an alcohol-related criminal offence can currently be subjected to an application by police to ban them from licensed premises for up to two years.
Sergeant Walkley said such an application would be made in an upcoming case involving alleged alcohol-fuelled violence.
He said such a ban included all licensed premises, such as bottle shops, cafes and restaurants.
"You can't even go into a pub to have dinner," he said.
"In that current case we'll be applying for such a ban."
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