Police back Safe Zone Precinct strategy to combat violence
GLADSTONE police have welcomed a State Government proposal to establish a Safe Night Precinct within the Gladstone CBD, in a bid to eradicate alcohol-fuelled violence.
The proposal released on Monday outlined a draft Safe Night Out Strategy, which will encompass 15 regional centres throughout Queensland and include initiatives such as mandatory ID scanners in certain venues and "mystery shopper" style tests to ensure premises are abiding by liquor licensing rules.
There will also be longer sentences for coward-punch killers.
Gladstone police inspector Darren Somerville said the plans would be embraced by Gladstone officers should they come to fruition.
"Absolutely - anything to help reduce alcohol-related violence we welcome," Insp Somerville said.
The proposal to employ mandatory ID scanning in venues trading past midnight was one aspect the local inspector believed would assist police, in the undesirable event of continued violence within or around licensed premises.
"Obviously it (ID scanning) will assist us in investigating offences that occur within or in the vicinity of licensed venues," he said.
Owner of Gladstone's nightclub MIe Place (formerly Bojangles) Aodhan McCann already has plans to implement sophisticated identification technology at the venue and, despite some scepticism about how the Safe Night Precinct would operate, agreed action needed to be taken.
"I'm 100% behind the ID scanners," he said.
"The drink safe precincts I'm still not 100% sure on. I don't think they've worked really well in Brisbane areas so I'll have to have a look at that and see exactly what they're offering and exactly how it'll work in Gladstone."
Mr McCann said it wasn't just alcohol causing issues in terms of late-night violence within the CBD.
"Drugs are definitely a major problem," he said.
"It's not just alcohol. It's the fact that people have got drugs in their system and then they top it up with alcohol."
Clubs Queensland yesterday backed the State Government's approach, saying it looked forward to working closely with the government.
- State Government proposes having coward-punch deaths punishable with a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. Offenders must serve 80% of their sentence before parole.