Northbridge violence - Police want more powers

According to senior police officers in Western Australia, the level of violence combined with alcohol abuse in the Northbridge area of Perth calls for a major change in liquor licensing.

The WA Police Commissioner Karl O'Callaghan has ordered a review of liquor licensing in Northbridge's entertainment area to deal with the situation.

Mr O'Callaghan says the changes are needed to address the culture of alcohol abuse and violence in the entertainment precinct and he is calling for major changes to liquor licensing.

Police Commissioner O'Callaghan, in a submission to the Director of Liquor Licensing, wants trading hours cut back and hotels to be forced to close earlier - he also wants the police to be given the power to issue prohibition notices to known violent offenders.

Commissioner O'Callaghan also says public transport out of the City in the early hours of the morning also needs improving and there are increasing numbers of young people on the streets.

Mr O'Callaghan believes the licensing authority has a responsibility to impose conditions which are in the public interest to minimise harm or ill health.

In response to the claims the Australian Hotels Association (AHA) has said blaming licensees for alcohol abuse and anti-social behaviour in Northbridge is naive and reducing trading hours is not the answer.

Doug White from the AHA says reducing the trading hours of good and quality venues that provide people with a very good service in Northbridge is naive and a holistic, whole of government approach would be more appropriate.

There are also concerns that Northbridge is the only area being targeted and the Lord Mayor of Perth, Lisa Scaffidi, has questioned the appropriateness of a blanket reduction in trading hours only in Northbridge as there are issues with other entertainment areas and venues that are outside the Northbridge precinct.

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