By Andrew Starke

As publicans around the country wonder if their businesses will be affected by Operation Unite this weekend, Melbourne licensees in the Docklands area will be under particularly close police scrutiny.

Director of Liquor Licensing in Victoria, Mark Brennan, has declared Docklands a designated area in consultation with police, following concerns about anti-social behaviour in the area.

Consumer Affairs Minister Michael O'Brien welcomed the declaration which gives police the power to ban troublemakers for up to 72 hours from Docklands.

"The number of licensed premises within Docklands has increased with the development of the area," he said.

"The ability to issue banning notices within Docklands will give police the power to act quickly to prevent anti-social behaviour before it happens in and around licensed premises, including Etihad Stadium.

"The Victorian Government has already extended the freeze on the granting of late-night liquor licences and increased penalties and new laws to deal with drunken, loutish and threatening behaviour.

"These measures will deliver improved safety for the precinct's growing number of residents, workers and visitors and help licensees better manage their venues."

Police can issue banning notices if they reasonably suspect that a person has committed offences including physical assault, sexual offences, threats to kill, property damage, drunkenness, offensive or obscene behaviour, failure to leave licensed premises and weapons offences.

O'Brien said police can seek a court order to ban repeat offenders from designated entertainment precincts for up to 12 months.

"Banning notices can be used by police to defuse situations and remove troublemakers from harmful situations rather than having to wait for something serious to happen," he said.

"People doing the right thing should be able to enjoy the sport and nightlife on offer in the Docklands without their fun being spoiled by a few louts."

Others designated areas throughout the state include Dandenong, Ballarat, Bendigo, Shepparton, Geelong, Frankston, Traralgon, Warrnambool and entertainment hubs in the CBD, Knox, St Kilda, Fitzroy, Prahran and South Yarra.

For more information and a map of the Docklands designated area, please visit and click on "Community Information" in the left hand menu.

Operation Unite will again target alcohol abuse and anti-social behavior with police in Australia and New Zealand’s major cities set to begin the crackdown from today (May 13).

This will be the fourth Operation Unite since December 2009 and comes a week after a new Government study found that alcohol is a major contributor to offences committed on weekends.


The Shout Team

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

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