Police welcome pub bans

AN automatic two-year ban from licensed premises for displays of violent drunken behaviour will strengthen local liquor accords.

Under the State Government legislation announced on Friday, anyone convicted of an offence involving violence while affected by alcohol will be banned from entering licensed premises for two years.

The law is expected to strengthen the Traralgon Liquor Accord, which allows venues to ban trouble-makers for a month, a year or even a lifetime.

Traralgon Police Station Sergeant Paul Stow said the legislation would formalise the accord, giving police more power to apply for a two-year ban at court.

While Sgt Stow said licensed venues were not currently experiencing over and above the normal amount of anti-social behaviour, the legislation was particularly timely in the lead-up to Christmas.

“Anything that supports us to achieve our objective to a more peaceful and non-violent situation in the streets we would welcome,” Sgt Stow said.

“If people do display antisocial behaviour it will come under police notice, the liquor accord and banning laws.

“There are definite repercussions for social commitments and social situations, longer term than immediately after the incident.”

The ban will start from the end of any jail term imposed. If no jail term is imposed, the ban will start immediately.

Judges will have limited discretion to grant exemptions in cases such as where an offender needs to enter licensed premises for work purposes, but no such exemption will be able to authorise the consumption of alcohol on the premises.

The ban will apply to entering any part of most licensed premises such as bars, nightclubs and restaurants, and to the bar area of all other licensed premises.

It will also be a further offence to consume alcohol at any licensed premises.

Sergeant Stow said police would have to wait until the laws were legislated for further detail about whether violence and drunken behaviour would need to be observed around the licensed precinct.