POLICE EXPAND AREA OF ALCOHOL BANS TO COVER ALL OF KING’S CROSS.
During this week, the Police Commander of the King’s Cross area, announced that responding to requests from residents and Police, the City of Sydney has established Alcohol Free Zones (AFZ) in some streets in the City Central, almost all of King’s Cross, Leichhardt, Newtown, Redfern, Surry Hills and The Rocks.
Alcohol free zones aim to reduce alcohol-related crime and anti-social behaviour in identified locations in order to help create a safer environment for residents, businesses and visitors. Particularly was this so for the whole of King’s Cross where police had great difficulty in controlling crowds of alcohol binge drinking aggressive louts. They would pour out of nightclubs onto the streets drinking from their bottles and fighting and assaults would result.
It is now an offence to drink alcohol on any street or footpath where an alcohol free zone exists, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Alcohol free zones apply to streets and footpaths where indicated by signage. The police also now have new powers to confiscate and tip out alcohol in public places that are designated Alcohol Prohibited Areas.
The police Commander spoke on TV about how this capacity and power given to police greatly aids them in the difficult task they had in making the streets safe for residents, tourists and visitors. I was particularly pleased to hear this because for months I worked in Parliament to gain this power for the police.
As a Press release at the time stated: “Parliamentary Leader of Family First, Rev the Hon. Dr Gordon Moyes, A.C., M.L.C., has joined forces with Lower House Independent MP, Peter Besseling, to introduce new laws that allow police to confiscate and tip out alcohol in public places that are designated Alcohol Prohibited Areas. It is not the first time these two have come together for the benefit of our State. The amazing thing is that these two have successfully worked together to steer two Bills through the Lower and the Upper Houses of Parliament, the Ombudsman Amendment (Removal of Legal Professional Privilege) Bill 2010 and now the Local Government (Confiscation of Alcohol) Bill 2010, has become law.”
Mr Geoff Munro, Policy Director for the Australian Drug Foundation, spoke on the topic of Australia’s binge drinking epidemic during one of Dr Moyes Focus on Family Values Forums. Mr Munro said:
“NSW Magistrates had recently said they were sick and tired of alcohol-related violence clogging our courts. When people become intoxicated they lose their inhibitions, their aggressive impulses take over, and they can become violent. Unfortunately, we will not get the chance to change legislation until the community demands it – we desperately need to listen to the community and to the Magistrates when they say “enough is enough”.
“Now, I am saying enough is enough. During the holidays, beachside and resorts often suffer from the actions of underage intoxicated youth drinking, usually within area designated ‘Alcohol-Free Zone’ or ‘Alcohol Prohibited’. In these situations where alcohol is a contributing factor in anti-social behaviour or violence, the police usually have little power other than persuasion, handing out a $110 fine, and encouraging the youth to move on and go home. Most sensible people assumed police had the power to confiscate and tip out liquor in Alcohol-Prohibited areas, but they didn’t.
“Now, under this new ‘power to confiscate and tip-out’ law, police will be able to deal effectively with the problem by removing the source of the problem. Taking the problem away is far better than having to just ignore it.”
At that time, Dr Moyes, commented “I am pleased to announce the passing of this bill. This new law is simply about taking steps to prevent alcohol-fuelled violence and a potential binge-drinking epidemic, as well as, to allow the police to confiscate and tip-out alcohol in Alcohol-Prohibited Zones, which already occurs in Alcohol-Free Zones. A simple but essential piece of legislation which will not only help in preparation for the upcoming New Year’s Eve celebrations, but for the safety of our children and families in the future”, Dr Moyes concluded.
Now the police have the power that can exercised in all of the trouble spots of Sydney. Two Members of Parliament with the right idea and persistence can make a difference for the whole community.