By Andrew Starke

Operation Unite will again target alcohol abuse and anti-social behavior this weekend with police in Australia and New Zealand’s major cities set to begin the crackdown on Friday (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.

Minister for Home Affairs and Justice Brendan O’Connor said the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) research showed a clear link between ‘extreme’ drinking and violent behaviour.

“It is little wonder that some young men are ending up in court on assault charges after drinking an average of 22 standard drinks in the hours before their crime – that’s equal to a 700ml bottle of spirits or about 16 bottles of beer,” he said.

“There’s nothing wrong with having a few drinks on a Friday or Saturday night, but too many people take it to the extreme and end up committing assault.

“We know that the combination of youth, alcohol and night spots can often equal violence and this study provides more detail about that all-too-common scenario.”

The Australian Institute of Criminology surveyed 170 assault offenders detained by police between 6pm and 6am on Friday and Saturday night across nine sites: Bankstown, Parramatta, Kings Cross, Footscray, East Perth, Darwin, Brisbane, Southport and Adelaide.

The results were compared with information from 744 detainees charged at other times.

The report found that assault offenders detained over the weekend were more likely than those detained during the week to:

  • have consumed alcohol in the 48 hours prior to their arrest – 70% compared to 50%
  • be aged between 18 and 25 years – 51% compared to 39%
  • have last consumed alcohol at a licensed premise – 30% compared to 19%
  • have been drinking a mix of different drinks – 39% compared to 20%

The study found that the median number of standard drinks consumed by assault offenders was 14 – about ten bottles of full-strength beer.

Young male offenders who’d been drinking a variety of alcoholic drinks consumed the greatest amount of alcohol, with a median of 22 standard drinks in the hours before they offended.

Men consumed a greater number of standard drinks than women – 15 standard drinks compared to 9.

Men aged between 18 and 25 consumed more alcohol than men aged over 36 – with 16 standard drinks for young men compared with 10 standard drinks for older drinkers.

“The AIC’s findings reinforce that alcohol is a key factor for many people who are arrested for assault offences on Friday and Saturday nights,” O’Connor said.

“These findings will help inform police strategies such as Operation Unite and assist in developing better policies to address anti-social behaviour and alcohol-related crime.”


The Shout Team

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

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