Temporary Beat Locations – stop the political games

Dr John Boffa 1

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

 

Sir – The NT Government and NT Police need to stop passing the buck on how to determine who is allowed to buy take-away liquor.

 

Stop playing political games. Get enough police to cover all the take-away opening hours with Temporary Beat Locations (TBLs) or bring back an electronic, population-wide ID scanning system.

 

A month ago PAAC called on the NT Police Commissioner Reece Kershaw to keep his commitment to allocate sufficient resources for TBLs at NT take-away liquor outlets, which operate in Alice Springs, Katherine and Tennant Creek.

 

Today the new NT Police Association President Paul McCue has told the ABC that TBLs are not working.

 

While the politics of this drags on and on, we have seen an increasingly sporadic police attendance at bottle shops. These absences result in an immediate, stark and damaging rise in excessive public drinking, fighting and other social dysfunction.
We understand the Police Association’s concerns. We know that standing outside bottle shops deterring purchasers who have nowhere legally to drink is not the most challenging of police work.

 

But like them or not, TBLs have been very effective in reducing alcohol sales levels and alcohol-related offending. When they don’t work is when there are not enough police.

 

The NT Government has previously promised funding for more police. The Police Commissioner gave a commitment for sufficient officers to cover all bottle shop hours by the end of April, but this hasn’t occurred.

 

It really is time for these games between politicians and senior police to stop. Run the TBLs properly, or bring back an electronic ID scanning system. ID scanning is working other areas such as Coober Pedy and Ceduna, while the NT Government abandoned ours in favour of using many thousands of police hours. Work it out for the sake of the community.

 

Dr. John Boffa

People’s Alcohol Action Coalition (PAAC)

 

 

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5 Comments (starting with the most recent)

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  1. Bev
    Posted August 24, 2015 at 11:48 pm

    Why dont they just stop grog being sold at supermarkets all over town – reduce the number of outlets and, yes, make sure rules apply to black and whites alike.
    It would make it easier to police and also if the violence continues then make it so no takeaway alcohol can be bought in Alice. We are isolated enough to make that effective.
    Also, there should be stricter rules on people in clubs and pubs so that anyone who appears to be drunk can be taken away in a paddy wagon. If anyone who complains too bad, is not the safety of people worth it?
    It is also right that people should be able to be responsible for their own behaviour once past 10 years old. We all make mistakes but violence and drunkenness is not a mistake but intentional.
    If alcohol has become a craving it is hard to deal with but for everyone’s safety it is important to deal with those who have this problem – not necessarily by long term locking up but by detox programmes and improving self esteem.

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  2. Phil Walcott
    Posted August 21, 2015 at 4:00 pm

    Minister Chandler wants to introduce “electronic monitoring devices” to assist with limiting alcohol supply. Hello??? That’s what the BDR was for! And that mob threw it out without any evidence that “it wasn’t working”. Why spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on “new” devices?
    Just pull and re-connect the mothballed BDR scanners. Stop playing politics and stop wasting $$$ when there are already resources that can achieve the aim.
    It was long said that a full “suite of measures” was required to help address the issues around alcohol consumption levels and the concomitant negative behaviour.
    It’s not rocket science that a few good, solid measures placed strategically around the community can achieve the desired outcomes.
    I’m not convinced that deploying trained police officers to act as security personnel is a smart use of either resources or is a reflection of the skill sets of the officers.
    The NT Government has still not achieved the “extra 120” police officers on the beat that they promised three years ago. As people join, others leave … attrition must be factored into the equation.
    Let’s stop the political games. Introduce and strengthen policies / procedures / practices that indicate these decision-makers know what they’re doing!

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  3. Physics Bill
    Posted August 20, 2015 at 8:29 am

    May 19, 2014 Alice Springs News Online: “Assaults have been reduced by almost 20% Territory wide and 32% in Alice Springs by ‘tough new alcohol policies including Alcohol Protection Orders and intensive Temporary Beat Locations’ outside bottle shops, claim Chief Minister Adam Giles and Minister for Justice John Elferink in a joint media release.”
    August 17, 2015 Alice Springs News Online: “Today the new NT Police Association President Paul McCue has told the ABC that TBLs are not working.”
    How can both these statements be true?
    [ED – Obviously not. Our job is to quote people expected to have knowledge about issues that are in the public interest.]

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  4. Spot
    Posted August 17, 2015 at 10:11 pm

    Since the commencement of all the TBLs around Alice Springs the environments around the liquor outlets have seen great improvements, helping keep the shopping centres family friendly locations.
    The moment the police are not to be seen they turn back into humbugging, swearing fighting drunken car parks.
    I am sure we are all aware this would be the one of the most least rewarding post to be sent to but the presence is appreciated by many of the shoppers.
    So next time you go shopping go past the officers and thank them for doing such a boring but necessary job.
    We can all see what the police are doing but can we get a response from the People’s Alcohol Action Coalition in regards to the issue of powdered alcohol that seems to have been overshadowed by the Vegemite scandal.
    New York has banned it, SA has made a preemptive move, VIC is looking for support of other states and territories – what is the NT doing about it?
    Is it not that prevention is better than years of cures and future failed policies?

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  5. Janet Brown
    Posted August 17, 2015 at 5:42 pm

    John really. You really wear your hipocrite bridge with pride don’t you?
    Let’s talk about the Memo Club. Or is that a no go subject. An operation that Congress also has a share in.
    If the rest of us operated the way your employers operate we would have no safety, no hygiene control and a total free for all. All based on the money you can make.
    No interest in the health and well being of the people – it is all about the money, isn’t it?
    We hear and read that black lives matter, John. Real people like me, John, say all lives matter.
    We fight to stop segregation, we voice loudly our concerns over the race divide. Big shock John.
    Most of us care about people over money. It’s like you keep having ground hog day.
    Same problems, same issues and as the years go by the problem grows and grows and grows.
    What have you achieved in these years John?
    Yelling the sky is falling is not working anymore.
    We want to know what you have done to achieve real and quantifiable outcomes.

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