SUNBURY POLICE AND LICENSEES GET SMART ON VIOLENCE

In Alcohol-related violence by Clyde Mooney

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Police in the Victorian region of Hume are working with licensed venues to tackle a spate of alcohol-related violence on the streets of Sunbury.

The problems have centred around the Royal Hotel, situated in the centre of town on the corner of Evans and Brooks Streets, around the corner from Stairs Nightclub and on the same block as the Olive Tree Hotel.

In late May ten police were dispatched to break up a brawl outside the Royal involving up to 10 men, being watched by around 80 people. Two of the men were hospitalised.

Then again in late June, two further incidents outside the Hotel saw another two men taken to hospital, with one having been allegedly glassed inside prior to police arrival.

Speaking with PubTIC, Sergeant Justin Pollock said Hume Police are addressing the issue with a variety of tactics, working with venues based on analysis of what is required.

“In the last 12 months we have had CCTV cameras in key locations, which has worked fairy well, especially with prosecutions,” said Sgt Pollock.

“We’re hoping that as people become more aware the cameras are in operation they will further modify their behaviour. The cameras are owned by Hume Council, and we have a mainframe at the police station where we can access and look at footage of incidents.

“We have spoken with the management at the Royal, to try to identify issues. They have asked for regular walk-throughs to let patrons know we are about.”

Police are also tracking information on locations and key times – such as when venues close – to intelligently target patrols and allocate resources.

Sgt Pollock also spoke of a liquor licensing forum that they operate, which meets a couple of times a year and is due to meet again soon.

At the focal end of late-night issues, Stairs Nightclub licensee Martin Evans was quoted as saying they are impacted by incidents outside the Royal as police were prone to blocking the alleyway to his venue.

Evans reported his own increased patron diligence has included “quality security operators” and scanning in all patrons, and by refusing all comers that show any sign of being affected by alcohol or drugs.

PubTIC contacted the ALH-operated Royal Hotel, but they were unable to supply a comment in time for this publication.