It is tempting to say this dramatic NT-wide drop in …

Comment on The Great Alcohol Debate: Police protective custodies headed south over the last six years by Bob Durnan.

It is tempting to say this dramatic NT-wide drop in police protective custody apprehensions of drunks, which is greater than 44% in the two years from June 30th 2010 to June 30th 2012, is very good news for the NT.
It would also, paradoxically, be good news for the Mills government and its efforts to contain unnecessary expenditures.
However these conclusions depend, at least partly, on not being contradicted by the absent data: the trends contained in the yet unknown figures for those drinkers who were not taken into protective custody under police supervision at the watch-houses (but who were taken by police to SUSs, private homes etc), although those figures are normally much lower and fairly stable.
The less dazzling but nonetheless very impressive and probably more reliable figure of a 24% overall drop in police protective custody apprehensions of drunks since the beginning of the NT Emergency Response Intervention in June 2007 is cause for satisfaction at the Licensing Commission. It will also encourage those many community leaders, public servants, politicians, health professionals and concerned members of the public who have been desperately trying to find productive, sustainable ways to lessen the debilitating impact of excessive consumption on NT society and its budget.
The recent big drop in the police protective custody numbers, since June 2010, is, almost certainly, partly attributable to the introduction of bans on 3, 4 and 5 litre cheap wine casks throughout the rest of the NT during the 2010-2011 period.
Another factor would be the settling effect that has come with consolidation of increased police presence in remote communities and their patrols on remote roads, and also the more consistent and professional Night Patrol operations in many of the communities.
According to large opinion surveys of remote residents in 2011, the efforts of these police and patrol workers have caused significant lessening of grog-running, drunkenness and violence in most communities.
These strengthened safety services initially led to increases in apprehensions of drinkers who were previously able to consistently get away with behaving badly on the roads and in their home communities, but seem in more recent years to have led to less of that misbehaviour.
(When the Licensing Commission mandated its NT-wide bans on casks larger than 2 litres, it was simply arranging for Darwin, Palmerston, and other smaller places to follow the successful example which had already been set by Alice Springs, so it is not surprising that Alice Springs did not experience such a dramatic reduction of protective custody apprehensions during 2010-2011 as did the rest of the NT: it had already received the benefits of outlawing the big casks).
The Mills government would be well advised to take on board the lessons of how these improvements were achieved, and consider them carefully when deciding on its own moves to address the still very considerable alcohol-related problems confronting the people of the NT. It should, particularly, respect the judgements of the Licensing Commission and Justice Department experts who are now very adept at designing initiatives which have good chances of success in relation to reduction in consumption and harms.
However to really get to grips with what they mean, we need access to the regional data to which Kieran refers.
We also probably need to be able to overlay the data with the changing rules and styles which governed local police operations during this five year period.

Recent Comments by Bob Durnan

Elferink and Gooda clash over underage marriage
Peter, Posted June 30, 2017 at 2:30 pm: some young girls may resist promised marriage more strongly these days, but I doubt whether some are in a position to do so.
It has been authoritatively reported by youth workers in Alice Springs and Tennant Creek in the last few years that rape of young women is rife in these towns.


I’m not kungka, I’m arelhe
Does anybody know if the hours when the Arrernte words teaching program is held at the Apmere angkentye-kenhe are available somewhere on the net, or anywhere else?
I thought I had seen it advertised for every Wednesday night at 6pm, but this doesn’t appear to be the case?
I have gone there at this time, found it closed, and no notice or info on the door.
Anybody wanna clarify here?


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Alex, of course one part-time worker with CAALAS is not able to, in your words, “work closely with EVERY SINGLE young person going throughout Central Australian court system, their family, community, lawyer, school and other service-providers to provide the young person with the support they need to get back on track and stay out of trouble”.
That is exactly my point, and why it is wrong for you to lay the blame on that worker, as you did when you wrote “if your PART-TIME advocacy programme co-ordinator did her job after this child’s court appearance in March, then he wouldn’t have appeared in court again in May.”
As I said earlier: That advocacy programme co-ordinator performed her job with great diligence and dedication, and cannot be held to blame for any alleged failure of duty of care, as the case load of such cases far exceeds the ability of one worker to cover even a small proportion of them. She was doing her job very well, covering as many of the cases as she could, but she wasn’t a magician. So your cheap jibe at her reputation is wrongly placed, and you should withdraw it.


Judge Borchers’ position should be assessed: CAALAS
Evelyne Roullet, Posted June 22, 2017 at 1:42 pm: Ralph was not talking about where or how the kid should be housed. He was referring to the bigger issue of the huge trauma in his life, caused by the alleged killing of his mother by his father. Kids who experience this level of trauma need intensive help and support, and we need to make sure that they get it, from wherever it may be best available.


Judge Borchers’ position should be assessed: CAALAS
Alex, on June 22, 2017 at 11:44 am you said, and I quote: “If your PART-TIME advocacy programme co-ordinator did her job after this child’s court appearance in March, then he wouldn’t have appeared in court again in May.”
So you cast an aspersion on her. It is entirely unwarranted.
Don’t wriggle out, apologise.


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