Since its launch in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, the Banned Drinkers Register (BDR) trial is already garnering positive results for the industry and community.
The most recent revelation about the trial shows a dramatic drop in liquor store shop lifting offences in the East Pilbara. In the latest episode of the Liquor Stores Association of Western Australia’s (LSA WA) podcast ‘Packaged’, retailer and Shire of East Pilbara councillor Anita Grace spoke about the unintended but positive impact of the BDR.
Grace, who owns Cellarbrations in Newman, has experienced many instances of theft over the past 20 years and although she has CCTV, there have been many times when thieves have stolen up to $300 worth of liquor on any given day. However, since the BDR trial commenced, she has said stealing offences have dropped by at least 90 per cent, as thieves have virtually stopped targeting her business.
“Since the BDR has come in to play more people are conscious of having to show photo ID before purchasing alcohol,” she said.
“They know their name and photo has to be verified on the scanning machines, so it’s been a strong deterrent for any unruly customer looking to do a ‘quick hit and run’. The most recent shoplifting incident in the store involved the theft of two pre-mix cans as opposed to several bottles of spirits at a time, so that gives you an indication that stealing in the shop isn’t as brazen as what it used to be.”
Grace sits on the board of a local women’s refuge and is known for her work in the community. She said she is also pleased at how the BDR trial has been able to deter underage people from trying to enter her store.
“This is another unintended benefit of the BDR. It is great to see there are fewer children wandering into the store,” Grace said.
Since the roll out of the BDR trail in the Pilbara, police say there have been more than 180,000 scans and 58 people added to the register, as of January 31.
Although the trial still has a long way to go and it will take a while until the evaluation of the results is finished by the University of Western Australia, LSA WA is especially encouraged by the early statistics and the bonus unintended positive impacts reported by retailers like Grace.
“We have only just begun and to get this type of feedback and results is amazing. I have always said this is going to be a game-changer and it will change our attitude to drinking, for the better,” said LSA WA Chief Executive Peter Peck.
The BDR trial is due to be expanded into the Kimberley region in May, and likely in the Goldfields, as was promised by the Labor Government if they retain power in this month’s state election.
You can hear the full interview with Grace on the Packaged podcast through the LSA WA website.