On behalf of The Greens I will introduce a Notice of Motion to the City of Sydney Council on Monday 1st September 2008 in order to increase the compliance monitoring of late night premises in the late night entertainment hotspots of the City.
It is clear that there are owners of pubs, nightclubs and bars who are eager to make big profits out of the service of as much alcohol as they can serve to patrons but who are reluctant to do so in a responsible manner. Such premises breach conditions of consent, fail to follow proper plans of management and are in breach of the law. The City of Sydney needs to be more active in pulling these operators into line and therefore needs an increased physical presence during the hours between midnight and 4am.
City Rangers will not be targeting patrons but rather they will be visiting premises during these late hours to ensure that late night premises, which are making large profits serving alcohol are doing so in accordance with what council had in mind when it approved the use. Rangers will be checking that premises are following conditions imposed by The City when approval was granted. This would include adequate security and good management of patron behaviour inside and outside the venue
The need for more compliance monitoring has become obvious from the increased number of complaints of violence and late night disturbances by patrons who have been served too much alcohol by late night venue operators. This extra Ranger presence will be on Thursday, Friday & Saturday nights and will involve extra expenditure by council. I think this is more than justified.
I have spoken to members of the Gay & lesbian Community for example who have told me that they just don’t bother visiting some areas of Oxford St and Kings Cross late at night any more because they feel it is unsafe.
Better compliance will lead to better management of premises, earlier identification of patrons who should not be served more alcohol and a decrease in acts of violence after hours.
It is important to understand that City Rangers do not have the powers vested in police – however they will be working in cooperation with local police and will be able to contact police when their attendance is required eg breaches in the law relating to responsible service of alcohol.
The Greens want to ensure that people can have fun during a late night out on the town without being subjected to violence and creating unreasonable disturbance to others. Council’s actions can improve the management of late night premises and the safety of those who want to say out late and have a great time.
Notice of Motion
Greens Cr Chris Harris
1st September 2008
1. That council increase the number of compliance staff patrolling the Darlinghurst/Kings Cross/Potts Point/Rushcutters Bay entertainment area, the Oxford St late night entertainment area and problem areas of the City and The Rocks as follows:
a) Two officers operating together to patrol the designated areas between the hours of 8pm - 4am on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings.
b) Officers to be well acquainted with conditions of consent and plans of management of individual premises particularly those premises serving alcohol to larger numbers of patrons and particularly in premises that have generated complaints.
c) Particular areas of focus to include noise, approved patron numbers, footpath queueing and consumption of alcohol outside of premises
d) Note to be taken of breaches of the law relating to responsible service of alcohol and for this to be promptly communicated to police at the relevant Local Area Command
2. Council notes that compliance staff do not have the powers of police and that the focus of compliance staff is to enforce conditions of consent that apply to operators of premises that are serving alcohol.
3. Council notes that patron behaviour is the responsibility of the operator of the premises and that enforcement action is directed to the operator and not patrons.
4. Council notes that breaches of the criminal law are beyond the jurisdiction of compliance staff. However compliance staff are encouraged to work with police to report criminal breaches; compliance staff will also be in a position to provide evidence in court proceedings should that be necessary.
5. That this increased compliance regime be implemented for a trial period of 12 months, that the City seek the cooperation of and coordination with local police and that an evaluation be reported back to the relevant council committee for discussion and public input.