By Andrew Starke

The hotel industry has offered support for “Operation Unite”, the police blitz on alcohol-fuelled anti-social behaviour which is due to take place next month.

The operation will see thousands of extra police on the beat to deal with problems resulting from irresponsible consumption of alcohol for two days from Friday, December 11.

“The AHA is supportive of the concept of ‘Operation Unite’,” said the Australian Hotels Association’s National CEO, Bill Healey.

“If Australia is to see a reduction in the level of anti-social behaviour on the streets resulting from excessive consumption of alcohol and illicit drugs, it is important that all stakeholders work together.”

The AHA is currently exploring ways it can use this operation to strengthen its relationship with police.

While Healey believes the initiative is commendable, the AHA says it is important to stress that for the vast majority of Australia’s 6407 hotels – notably those in country areas – anti-social behaviour on nearby streets is not a major issue.

“Local solutions for local issues remains one of the most effective methods of addressing anti-social behaviour caused by misuse of alcohol,” he said.

“Also, patrons must take responsibility for their own actions and it shouldn’t take extra police on the streets to make them behave.

“There is no place for violent behaviour in hotels because drunks in pubs are bad for business.”

Operation Unite will see Victorian Police putting more police on the streets with support from a multi-million dollar Victorian Labor Government boost, according to Premier John Brumby.

Brumby said hundreds of extra police will be on foot, on horseback, on bikes, in patrol vehicles and with dog squads in targeted areas across Victoria as part of the high-visibility operation to tackle alcohol-related crime and anti-social behaviour on the streets.

“Earlier this year the Victorian Labor Government announced $47 million to hire an additional 120 police to target alcohol-related crime in troublespots around the state through the Chief Commissioner’s new Operational Response Unit and Operation Razon,” Brumby said.

“In addition to putting more frontline police into the force, our government built in $2.8 million to give Victoria Police immediate extra capacity to hire more police and increase police on the streets during the summer months while other police were being recruited and trained.”

Police Minister Bob Cameron said the united action by Police Chiefs across the country was sending a strong message to the nation that alcohol-related violence was unacceptable.

“In addition to extra funding for more police, we have also introduced new laws to give police stronger powers to combat violence and antisocial behaviour,” Cameron said.

Cameron said the new police powers include:

•    The introduction of tougher random search powers for weapons in designated areas;
•    Giving police the power to direct people to move-on from a certain area where there is a fear there will be a breach of the peace; and
•    There will be a new offence of disorderly conduct;
•    For the new offence of disorderly conduct and for existing offences of “drunk and disorderly” and “drunk” there will be on-the-spot penalties with a fine of $234.

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The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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