LATEST VIOLENT VENUES LIST HERALDS IMPRESSIVE CHANGES

In News & Releases by Clyde Mooney

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The latest OLGR list of NSW violent venues champions the efficacy of measures to reduce violence, and brings some surprise changes.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Justice & Police Troy Grant released the latest list on Friday, with the notation that incidents have dropped from 1270 across 48 venues when the scheme began in 2008, to just 200 across 14 venues in the past twelve months.

Significantly, Merivale’s ivy, which has topped the list of Level 1 venues for the past four years, has dropped to mid-way down Level 2.

The OLGR violent venues list has come under considerable criticism for failing to account for patronage numbers with the scheme, which applies a string of trading conditions on venues. A licensed premise that has 19 or more recordable assaults in a year will be classed as Level 1.

Easily the biggest venue on reports from the Bureau of Crime Research & Statistics (BOCSAR) that contribute to the OLGR list, ivy sees more than 2.5 million patrons through its doors each year. This makes its reduction from 26 incidents in the July 2014 list to just 14 incidents in the latest list all the more noteworthy.

“These results evidence our continued long-term, co-operative approach with local police and relevant licensing authorities, and the effectiveness of our strong and comprehensive safety management plan,” a spokesperson for Merivale told PubTIC.

“The vast majority of our guests have a great time while also respecting their fellow patrons and our staff. The handful of people who do the wrong thing are responsibly and effectively managed.”

Also of significance in the latest list, the Sydney Cricket Ground Trust, which includes Allianz Stadium, is the first sporting venue to be named, coming in on Level 2, with 12 incidents in the past 12 months.

Meanwhile, the State’s north coast has come under fire for assuming the mantle as the new trouble hot-spot. Ballina’s Hotel Henry Rous has most recently dropped to Level 3 classification, with only 10 incidents in the past 12 months, but the Plantation Hotel is again the title-holder as the ‘most violent’ in NSW.

Plantation general manager Daniel Knox told the North Coast Advocate new operators and methods are beginning to make a difference.

“It’s something unfortunately that is a reflection of incidents at the venue more than 12 months ago. Since that time we’ve had a change of management and we’re working very closely with police in the way we operate.

“We’ve implemented an ID scanner, which we’ve found very effective, we’ve increased CCTV, we’ve put in RSA officers to distribute free water, and we maintain a bar list to make sure people are staying barred for the period they should be.”

The only other venue to achieve a Level 1 status was Home Nightclub, in Darling Harbour, in the heart of the lockout zone supposedly in place to reduce violence.

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