Four people on the BDR had 376 PCs between them
Department of Justice figures released by NT Attorney-General John Elferink show that there was only a drop of 366 protective custodies (PCs) between 2010-2011 and 2011-2012, the period of roll-out for the Banned Drinker Register (BDR). Mr Elferink claims this is “further evidence that the previous Government’s approach to dealing with problem drinkers simply didn’t work”.
The figures (only available for the whole 12 months and not by quarter) also show a high rate is recidivism: 8035 people made up the 19,988 PCs for 2011-12. 431 people had eight or more PCS over the 12 months. Four individuals had a total of 376 PCs: 74 for one, 88 for another, 97 and 117. All four were on the BDR.
This shows “the BDR failed to stop problem drinkers from obtaining alcohol”, says Mr Elferink, claiming “an enormous gulf between the former Labor Government’s rhetoric about the success of the Banned Drinker Register and reality”.
“Without mandatory rehabilitation, there is simply no obligation on problem drinkers to break the cycle,” he says. “The Country Liberals believe the Banned Drinker Register offered no protection to problem drinkers, their families and communities because it didn’t mandate rehabilitation.
“The Northern Territory has an enormous problem with alcohol and the Country Liberals Government is determined to turn around issues of public drunkenness, anti-social behaviour and alcohol related crime.”
Source: NT Government media release.
UPDATE October 19, 2012, 10.40am
COMMENT: At the time of the meeting of stakeholders about alcohol issues in Alice Springs the public was in the dark about protective custody statistics, and the Alice Springs News Online drew attention to this fact. We welcome this limited release of statistics by Mr Elferink. However, the Banned Drinker Register went from zero to 779 banned persons by end of its first month of rollout, July 2011.There were 2195 persons on it by end of December, 2011; 2,491 as of the end of June 2012. It is thus reasonable to think that if it were having an impact it would be greater later in the 12 month period than earlier. So it would be interesting to see a quarterly breakdown of figures, compared to the same quarters a year earlier.
The News has requested such a breakdown specific to Alice Springs, including figures for the September quarter when they become available. If figures are going to be used in the arguments – which they must be, as decisions should be based on facts – then let us have the figures presented in the most meaningful way. In fact for the September quarter it would be interesting to see the monthly figures, for whether there was an upswing (or not) in PCs after Terry Mills made it the first act of his government to dismantle the BDR, with no new initiative in its place.
The News has also requested the quarterly comparative wholesale consumption figures for Alice Springs in those quarters as well as the bar sales figures for the bars where ID was required, which are reportedly experiencing an upsurge in custom. – Kieran Finnane