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Police seek ‘banning’ powers

01 Feb 2011

The City of Melbourne is supporting a bid by Victoria Police to have Docklands declared a “designated area” from which police can effectively ban drunken and disruptive revellers.

On February 1, councillors voted to support a police application to Responsible Alcohol Victoria (RAV) to extend to Docklands the powers they already have to deal with drunks within 100 metres of CBD night-spots.

Since being granted temporary 24-hour “banning powers” in 2007, police have evicted more than 3000 people from the city, a move they say has been effective in combating anti-social behaviour.

In seeking the council’s support, Victoria Police said public order category offences had increased 96 per cent in Docklands since 2007.  At the same time, they say, there has been a 38 per cent increase in licensed premises in Docklands.

However, RAV is not convinced by these percentages and has asked for actual numbers and other evidence proving that the proximity of licensed premises contributed to the offences.

In a letter to police, RAV licensing and compliance manager Murray Smith said any support from the council should include “evidence of the resources they have had to commit to the area proposed because of alcohol-related violence or disorder”.

The City of Melbourne does not record the specific costs associated with licensed premises or alcohol-related incidents.  However, the council has commissioned this research and should have the results by July.

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