Campbelltown pubs are taking the law into their own hands, imposing lockouts on themselves in an attempt to control drunken violence.
Police want more bars and hotels in the region to do the same.
Sergeant Michelle Glasgow of the Campbelltown Police Licencing Department says the area has some of the “most violent drinking premises in NSW”, including one that has been declared the state’s most violent, the Macarthur Tavern.
Most pubs have licences allowing them to operate after midnight, but many are opting for earlier closing times.
“They’ve actually got, under the schedule for conditions in the liquor act, a 1.30(am) lockout imposed on their licence,” Sergeant Glasgow said.
“We are currently operating with some premises who have just taken it upon themselves to introduce them.
“That has seen a dramatic reduction in the amount of calls that we’ve had to the location for violence.”
The decrease in alcohol-fuelled incidents in Campbelltown reflects the findings of a Bureau of Crime Statistics Report that found a 29 per cent drop in non-domestic crime in the Sydney CBD since lockouts were introduced.
“The benefits of lockout laws have shown a 50 per cent decrease in alcohol related assaults on members of the public and police,” said an Operational Police Officer of the Sydney City Local Area Command, who declined to be named.
“There isn’t as many drunks walking down George Street at 6am anymore, they have all gone home or elsewhere by this stage.”
The implementation of lockout laws made the job of managing alcohol-fuelled violence and maintaining public order within the CBD easier, he said, but only to a degree.
“With lockout laws comes other social issues, such as binge drinking earlier in the evening and large numbers of revellers leaving licensed premises at the same time (3am last drinks).”
After a glassing at the Camden Hotel in March, management enforced a 12pm lockout.
Local talk of implementing lockouts has been rife amidst media speculation of the CBD laws spreading west. Businesses taking the initiative to implement their own lockouts is a development the Baird government will need to address as they decide whether, and how, to amend the current lockout laws in 2016.
“I think it (self imposed lockouts) signifies an acceptance from licenced premises in relation to their responsibility to the community to do what they can to prevent alcohol fuelled violence,” Sergeant Glasgow said.
“It’s that migratory pattern of behaviour, they drink at one premises and then they go to another.
“It (lockout) reduces the risk of that intoxication sneaking up on the premises and people becoming extremely affected by alcohol after entering late.
“It signifies a proactive response rather than a reactive response.”
Camden resident Lauren Winn thinks lockout laws are “integral” to reducing non-domestic violence and making the streets a safer place at night.
“Their impact on violence in Sydney just proves how effective they are. I would really like to see them implemented in our area, amongst others.”