LETTER: Alcohol Protection Orders a new tool for police

Sir – Orders will be introduced under the Liquor Act which will support the Government’s target of a 10 per cent reduction in crime and further strengthen the tools available to NT Police in responding to alcohol-related offences, including domestic violence.

More than half of NT Police responses to “Offences Against the Person” each month are alcohol-related or domestic-violence related.

About 70 per cent of domestic violence order breaches responded to are alcohol-related. In the 12 months in the lead up to March 31 there were 22,041 alcohol-related incidents across the Territory. In 2011-12, NT Police breath-tested 168,134 drivers – 5.1 per cent were detected for drink driving offences.

These new Alcohol Protection Orders will build on the Government’s mandatory treatment plan to target problem drinkers and will prevent a person from possessing or consuming alcohol or attending licensed premises, other than for work or for place of residence.

These orders can be issued to any person who is charged with an offence carrying a minimum penalty of six months imprisonment or more, where alcohol was a factor (including offences under the Traffic Act). These orders can be issued for three, six or 12 months – three months for the first offence, six months for a second offence and 12 months for a third or subsequent offence.

This is a significant improvement on Delia Lawrie’s former government’s Banned Drinker Register.

The BDR was not a law enforcement tool used by police; it was a tool to restrict alcohol at the point of sale for people who’d been taken into protective custody three times or more in six months.

The Alcohol Protection Orders are purely a law enforcement tool and will be issued by police with detection and enforcement of breaches through policing activities.

 

David Tollner

Minister for Business David Tollner

[See rebuttal by the People’s Alcohol Action Coalition.]

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2 Comments (starting with the most recent)

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  1. Paul Parker
    Posted May 14, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    The orders need be available for Magistrates to issue such order to any person charged with any offence where any custodial, good behavior or probation order may be issued, and where alcohol found to be a factor.
    IF unreasonable, then appeals available.

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  2. Russell Guy
    Posted May 11, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    Dr Boffa has described the new “protection orders” as a “national tragedy.” I agree. It’s very depressing, because in my opinion it won’t stop the people I know who are alcoholics and who are dying because of their daily intake, going downhill now, on the slippery slope, at speed, because they are sold grog legally seven days a week. Supply and demand sales help keep licencees afloat in these difficult financial times.
    I see Grey Nomads, elderly Aussies every day who are equally affected by the sight of it as I am. We exchange knowing looks.
    The current NTG response to excessive grog supply enforces a culture of death.
    As you leave the NT, the trail of VB cans diminishes after a while, but the shame and depression follows. NT Tourism – good luck!

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