By Andrew Starke
A high ranking police officer has called for further restriction to be placed on late-trading NSW venues claiming hoteliers need to be pulled into line.
Police Association of NSW President, Scott Weber, took this tough stance following a brawl in The Rocks in the early hours of Sunday morning (Aug 1), which appears to have been instigated at the Lowenbrau Keller.
He called on the NSW State Government to restrict the sale of all high-strength alcoholic beverages, to enforce lock-outs from 1am and to make all venues close by 3am.
Weber said police officers had ‘had enough’ and were ‘sick of being assaulted, kicked, punched and spat on by boozed-up idiots’.
According to NSW police, an officer was hospitalised and eight men detained after a street fight involving up to 100 people outside the popular bar.
“Shortly after 2.30am police were called to the corner of Argyle and Harrington Streets after receiving reports that up to 100 people were fighting inside and outside a licensed premises,” said a police statement.
“Police from The Rocks Local Area Command attended and after calling for urgent assistance had numerous vehicles from neighbouring LACs and specialist officers including the Public Order and Riot Squad respond.”
The incident appears to have been sparked by the ejection of three patrons from the Lowenbrau Keller while the venue was in the process of closing but other reports suggest a brawl had already erupted on the street.
A glass door of the venue was damaged during the incident.
A constable was treated at the scene by paramedics and a man was arrested after being Tasered during the alleged assault of the police officer.
The 29-year-old Pendle Hill man has been granted bail to appear at the Downing Centre Local Court later this month. Seven other males were detained by officers during the brawl.
Their details were obtained and they have been released pending further inquiries and the examination of CCTV footage.
Police Association of NSW President Scott Weber said the incident – coupled with a dual stabbing at a licensed venue in the Rocks and a glassing at a hotel in Newcastle on Friday night – again put the ‘spotlight on the epidemic of alcohol-related violence in NSW’.
“The level of alcohol-related violence around NSW every weekend is nothing short of disgraceful,” Weber said.
“This weekend we have seen another police officer sent to hospital after being assaulted by a drunken yobbo. Hotel patrons have been stabbed, glassed and punched, and brawls have spilled out on the streets.
“Quite frankly, police officers have had enough. We are sick of being assaulted, kicked, punched and spat on by boozed-up idiots.
“It’s time to pull the hotel industry into line, and to start taking the issue of alcohol related violence seriously in NSW,” he said.
Weber said restrictions on the late night trading activities of licensed venues were required to bring what he called ‘the culture of booze and violence’ under control.
“The current approach of emphasising ‘personal responsibility’ is not working,” he said.
“We’re calling on the State Government to restrict the sale of high-strength alcoholic beverages, to enforce lock-outs from 1am, and to make all venues close by 3am.”
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