Sunday, July 31, 2011

Preventing Liquor Violence

Sporadically appearing in the news is "alcohol fuelled violence".

There is much written & said about the attributes of Crowd Controllers, calls for new & tougher laws, penalties, shorter trading hours, curfews, lockouts etc.

Most of this is aimed at Liquor Licencees. There has been an explosion of regulation, such that at the Wayside Tavern one key staff member wastes, pardon, is occupied for one full day each week, dealing with the paperwork of compliance minutae.

There is considerable regulatory heat brought to bear on licenced premises & licencees. We are continually lumbered with requirements for "more security guards" "more courses in Responsible Service of Alcohol" & are threated overtly & covertly with ever more dire penalties if there is even a whiff of "trouble" in our premises.

The State Premier makes big noise about "harm minimisation" & how licencees & the govt shall "work together" to cure "alcohol fuelled violence" blah blah blah.

Here is how much support we get:
Two males kick off inside, they demand (for no reason) to be paid $7,500 cash, claiming this is a gambling win they are "owed". There appears to be no trigger for this demand. They become quite unreasonable.

Senior staff attend, discuss the matter with them. The two males are incredibly rude, crude & abusive to this female staff member. A hotline (manned all night) is phoned to check if there has been any sort of gambling win, or event that may have caused them to believe they had won something. There isn't.

The head of the security company happens to be nearby, he talks to them. They unload further rudeness & abuse onto him. He escorts them outside onto the street.

This is where they really kick off. They offer to "fight anybody". Then they attempt to reenter the premises. It takes three very robust security guards to keep them out. They attempt to throat punch the guards. They won't stop. The police are called.

Observation of the video footage shows this is no ordinary scuffle or the like, there is real menace in the air, these men are either "on something", or for some reason they are keyed up far beyond what can usually be expected.

Arrival of the police calms them down. However there is considerable video footage of what happened, & the head of the security company is left in a shredded shirt & a shredded & torn parka.

The police talk with the pair for a minute or so, then instruct them to go home.

One security guard is up for a new shirt & new parka.
Two men (& any others watching) have learned there is no penalty of any sort for some of the roughest behaviour one can engage in outside a boxing ring.

Tomorrow, or sometime soon, the premier will be talking of further impositions upon the liquor industry, as we "can't keep our act clean".

Mine Host's observation:
If all the Premier's current paperwork can't stop these people kicking off, how is even more paperwork, tighter inspection of a pub's manager's register & security guard accreditation going to help?

Perhaps she could try imposing some actual penalties for bad behaviour. Just a thought.

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