Comprehensive Plan to Stop Alcohol-Fuelled Violence Released by NT Chief Minister

Please see media release from Chief Minister of the Northern Territory, Michael Gunner:

An additional 75 police auxiliaries will be trained as Liquor Inspectors and stationed in front of bottle shops as part of a comprehensive Territory Labor Government plan to stop alcohol-fuelled violence in the NT.

The Police Auxiliary Liquor Inspectors will form part of a new 97-member strong unit within the NT Police, and will include 12 police officers specifically targeting secondary supply, seven operational staff and three prosecutors.

The measures will be backed by an $11.83 million investment annually – the largest ever investment allocated to target the supply of alcohol in the Northern Territory.

This will see frontline police return to core policing roles – including getting them back into remote police stations – and will deliver on recommendations from the historic Riley Review into Alcohol.

Chief Minister Michael Gunner said the 75 Police Auxiliary Liquor Inspectors will be additional to the 120 extra police officers already promised this term of government.

“Every Territorian has the right to feel safe and expect their homes, businesses and property to be secure,” Mr Gunner said.

“The Territory Labor Government has outlined sweeping alcohol reforms to achieve generational change through the Riley Review into alcohol policy. Today I am taking this even further and announcing:

  1. The creation of a new unit within NT Police comprising 97 police officers (75 police auxiliary liquor inspectors, 12 police officers to target secondary supply, three prosecutors to focus on license breach prosecutions);
  2. 10 additional CCTV cameras to be deployed outside bottle shops to catch those people involved in secondary supply;
  3. Legislation to empower Police Auxiliary Liquor Inspectors to conduct point of sale duties, including the ability to intervene and stop sales at take away liquor outlets;
  4. The return of existing police currently stationed at TBLs to perform frontline policing duties.

“We have seen how destructive excessive consumption of alcohol is in the Northern Territory – particularly in relation to child neglect and the exposure of children to domestic violence,” Mr Gunner said.

“The chaotic CLP Government’s failure to invest in more police, failure to tackle alcohol abuse, removal of the BDR and failure to invest in youth services means we now have an enormous challenge to keep our community safe.

“My Government is tackling this challenge by employing more police and giving them the resources and tools to do their job, bringing back the Banned Drinkers Register, limiting new take away alcohol licenses and reforming youth justice and correction systems.”

The 75 police auxiliary liquor inspectors will be located in Alice Springs, Tennant Creek and Katherine.

“These police auxiliaries will be recruited over the next 12 months, and trained in Alice Springs,” Mr Gunner said.

They are being prioritised so that approximately 36 police are taken off bottle shops and returned to frontline duties – including back into remote stations – enabling them to respond to community safety and anti-social behaviour.

The 12 police officers that will tackle secondary supply will be initially based in Darwin and Palmerston and will focus on investigating and preventing the secondary supply of alcohol. They will travel throughout the Territory.

They will work alongside seven additional support staff to assist in increased monitoring and compliance of liquor licence conditions, as well as three police prosecutors to focus on prosecutions, preparation of complaints and training the workforce.

A range of changes will be introduced in the upcoming March sittings so that these new powers can take effect.

QUOTES FROM MEMBERS:

DALE WAKEFIELD, MEMBER FOR BRAITLING

We have listened to the concerns of the people in Alice Springs and have taken action.

“Community safety has always been a priority for the Territory Labor Government. We are tackling the causes of crime and social dysfunction by combatting alcohol abuse, investing in the early years and reforming our child protection and youth justice systems.”

GERRY MCCARTHY, MEMBER FOR BARKLY

“Alcohol fuelled violence and dysfunction has impacted the town community of Tennant Creek for decades.

“I support any measures that protect Territorians and targets those who exploit the system and the vulnerable through secondary supply.”

SANDRA NELSON, MEMBER FOR KATHERINE

“I am confident in our police force and our police do everything they can to ensure the residents of Katherine live in a safe community.

“These additional resources announced today will enable our frontline police to return to the beat, while dedicated police auxiliary liquor inspectors are stationed at the front of bottle shops. The Territory Labor Government is making our communities safer, but it is also important that the community works with us so we can all put a stop to alcohol-related crime and anti-social behaviour.”