By Andrew Starke

Confusion over the NSW Government’s ‘Three Strikes’ policy towards pubs and clubs is growing with a new crackdown coming on the back of flaws emerging in its proposed policy.

NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell, Minister for Police Michael Gallacher and Commissioner of Police Andrew Scipione this week announced an operation targeting violence and anti-social behaviour on Sydney’s George Street entertainment strip.

However the Government’s ‘Three Strikes’ bill has faced its own scrutiny recently with media reports suggesting it will need to be reworked to avoid a potential legal challenge.

At the same time venues continue to be ‘named and shamed’ under the previous NSW Government’s ‘violent venues’ list, which imposes restrictions based on the number of ‘incidents’ that occur at pubs and clubs over a rolling six-month period.

It is understood that this system will continue to operate until the problems with ‘Three Strikes’ policy are ironed out.

The AHA and other interest groups have raised a raft of concerns over the proposed changes, with many in the industry taking the view that punishing aspect of the legislation will be out of all proportion to the offences for which venues are charged.

Government this week responded to the set-back by charging forward and singling out the George Street entertainment precinct for special attention.

O‟Farrell said George Street should be one of the key attractions in the city but that it had been allowed to deteriorate because of anti-social behaviour.

He said a special police operation had been trialled over four weekends in June and July to clean up the area – and it had proved successful.

The Police Commissioner has agreed to continue the police operation which will cover the entire George Street link from Chinatown to The Rocks.

“It is simply unacceptable that people who are going for a night at the movies or for a meal end up in the middle of a brawl or feel intimidated by anti-social behaviour,” O‟Farrell said.

“The best deterrent to criminal and anti-social behaviour is uniformed police officers patrolling the streets – and the trial shows it’s had exactly that effect.”

During the trial operation 21 individuals were arrested with 111 individuals directed to ‘move on’.

Since the start of the trial of ‘Operation Tepid’, police figures indicate there has been a 23.4 percent decrease in the number of Robbery and Assault offences in and around the George Street precinct.

Commissioner of Police Andrew Scipione said he would make no apologies for taking an aggressive stance to stamp out anti-social, alcohol-related violence in Sydney.
“The success of Operation Tepid is a classic example of excellent results when police resources are placed in a troubled spot,” he said.

“We will continue to ramp up our efforts to stamp out this type of behaviour.”

The Shout Team

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

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