Drunken patrons put on notice

The Lismore Workers Clubs well-known head doorman Ted Walsh points out a poster warning patrons they could cop a $550 on-the-spot fine for refusing to leave licensed venues after being asked if they are drunk or badly behaved.

A special taskforce targeting alcohol-related crime that has succeeded in cutting down crime in other areas of the Far North Coast has been expanded into the Richmond Local Area Command (LAC).

To be known as the Richmond Alcohol Response Taskforce, it has been set up by the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing (OLGR) and includes police and members of the Lismore, Ballina and Casino Liquor Accords.

It was launched on Tuesday at Lismore Workers Club.

Local police and inspectors from the OLGR will work together as part of the taskforce in a bid to cut alcohol-related assaults in licensed venues in the Richmond LAC.

The taskforces role includes monitoring high-risk licensed venues; covert operations at licensed venues focusing on the busiest nights of the week and special events like concerts, race days and festivals; zero tolerance towards drunk patrons refusing to leave venues when asked; and audits of licensed venues to help licensees strengthen alcohol and security-related management plans and reduce intoxication.

The taskforce will also conduct Responsible Service of Alcohol training workshops this week for bar, security and door staff and run a No Excuse education campaign to promote the states fail-to-quit laws. The campaign is designed to teach patrons about respect and responsibility in licensed venues and make them aware of the penalties that apply for fail-to-quit offences.

It tells patrons that if they are asked to leave a licensed venue because they are drunk or badly behaved then they are committing an offence if they dont leave, Lismore Liquor Accord chairperson, Rebekka Battista, said. The police will be called and issue you with a $550 on-the-spot fine.

Director of Liquor and Gaming, Albert Gardner, who visited Lismore for the launch, similar taskforces had helped slash the rate of assaults in licensed venues by 29 per cent in Coffs Harbour, 45 per cent in Grafton, 13 per cent in Byron Bay and 11 per cent in Kingscliff.

He said there were 152 assaults on licensed premises in the Lismore, Ballina and Richmond Valley Council areas between July 2006 and June 2007.

Mr Gardner said, We dont want licensees serving patrons to the point of intoxication and then ejecting them at the first sign of trouble because thats when they start impacting on the community through noise, assaults and malicious damage, Mr Gardner said.

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