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Hanson to call for reinstating alcohol crime squad

ACT Liberal Leader Jeremy Hanson.

ACT Liberal Leader Jeremy Hanson. Photo: Jay Cronan

ACT Police Minister Simon Corbell has described changes to the policing of alcohol crime in the territory as ''sensible'' and says licensed venues will continue to pay higher fees to help fund the services.

The Attorney-General has also promised that the amalgamation of an alcohol crime squad with the city beats police will not reduce efforts to tackle alcohol-related crime.

On Wednesday the opposition will demand the government reinstate an alcohol crime task force, which was merged this month with the city beat police to fill a shortage of officers patrolling Civic after dark.

The Canberra Liberals will also call for $15 million that was cut from the ACT Policing budget to be restored to hire more officers for the understaffed city beat.

It comes after reports police chiefs had ''tolerated'' dangerously low numbers of beat police, despite written complaints from officers every month for two years.

Police management responded this month by merging the beats teams with the alcohol crime squad, which was established in 2010 under new liquor laws and partly funded by pubs and clubs through higher fees.

The alcohol task force was set up to curb alcohol-related violence. Funding the squad led the fees for some venues to rise to more than $10,000 under a risk-based licensing scheme.

Mr Corbell told the Legislative Assembly on Tuesday he was informed of the amalgamation about a week ago. The Attorney-General said the move would not reduce police resources targeting alcohol-related crime.

''Madam Speaker, the decision is one which is a sensible one on the part of the chief police officer,'' Mr Corbell said.

''The chief police officer is seeking to deploy his resources in the most effective way possible.

''Of course it makes sense that particularly on a Friday or Saturday night the alcohol crime targeting team, which is in operation often in the Civic area, will work with and co-operate with the city beats team.

''This does not result in any reduction in the capability of the new dedicated combined team to focus on alcohol-related crime and violence, and those activities will continue, I'm advised, unchanged.''

Under questioning from the opposition, Mr Corbell said the new structure would not mean a reduction in or refund of fees for licensees.

''There's no reduction in police,'' he said. ''There is no reduction in the focus provided to alcohol crime targeting. There's certainly no argument around the fees.''

Clubs ACT has lashed out at both the ACT government and police management, saying pubs and clubs were kept in the dark about the changes.

Opposition Leader Jeremy Hanson called it ''a disgraceful situation worsened by deceitful alterations to crime prevention''.

The motion from Mr Hanson in the Assembly on Wednesday, as well as calling for additional beat police, will renew the calls from the Canberra Liberals for legislation to give extra protection for police officers who are assaulted in the course of their duties.

5 comments

  • <i>licensed venues will continue to pay higher fees to help fund the services</i>

    As usual, small venues get slugged while the ALP owned clubs, who can afford higher fees, get more of the market. Once again one gets the feeling that the ALP won't be happy until everyone is drinking in their soulless pokie barns.

    By all means put in measures against alcohol abuse, but don't punish small venues.

    Commenter
    jg
    Location
    Canberra
    Date and time
    September 18, 2013, 9:38AM
    • Corbell loves his social engineering programs over public safety, as he wouldn't have cut 14mil from the ACT police budget and leave all his green programs in place, untouched

      Commenter
      Greenie
      Date and time
      September 18, 2013, 9:58AM
      • Something has to happen Jeremy, Civic is a no go zone after 11pm, if you choose to have dinner and a few drinks in Civic, one with any sense has to be out of there by midnight.Last time I was in Civic late, I had the passenger door of my car dented in from a girl pushing her back up against it, and her feet up against another car passing urine, that little trip cost me $600,00, plus dinner expenses.

        Commenter
        six o'clock swill
        Location
        legside
        Date and time
        September 18, 2013, 10:33AM
        • Why not just ban the booze for 90 days, solves heaps of problems not to mention a lowered road toll...

          Commenter
          Twimum
          Location
          Sydney
          Date and time
          September 18, 2013, 12:06PM
          • this is what happens when you have Liberal opposition MLCs sitting around with nothing better to do, this is a Police Command decision not a Government decision and if you want to keep politics out of the Police then the Liberals need to back off and let the experts handle the decision making....pubs and clubs have more than enough balls to rob pensioners and the vunerable blind with pokie machines they can cop this.

            Commenter
            Frank
            Date and time
            September 18, 2013, 1:00PM
            Comments are now closed
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