Police say a binge-drinking culture amongst young people is behind our area’s bucking a statewide trend toward a lessening of alcohol-fuelled violence. And it is being reinforced by tourists who visit the region intent on getting drunk.
The Tweed-Byron Local Area Command has the worst statistics for alcohol-related violence in the state, according to Superintendent Stuart Wilkins.
Every other command is reducing its numbers below set targets except ours, he said in an interview yesterday.
‘We have 12 commands in the northern region; 11 of them are under target for alcohol-related crime and reducing it,’ he told ABC radio.
‘We’ve had some good success since January in reducing alcohol-related crime but without question… it is an issue for us and particularly for the culture within this command.’
Supt Wilkins said young people ‘pre-load’ with cheap alcohol, go out to get drunk and then find themselves in trouble.
And he flagged clawing back venue closing hours as one of a series of strategies to reduce the number of alcohol-related incidents.
‘The Byron Bay Liquor Accord run their businesses to make money, and I understand that, but I also need to reduce alcohol-related incidents in that area so I’m looking at going through a process to enhance the shut-off times for some of the licensed premises so we don’t have that late-night violence in those streets.
But yesterday members of the Accord turned down a proposed trial 1am lockout during Splendour, saying it would leave revellers in the town at a loose end. They said they will continue with their existing agreed lockout time of 2am.